Domantas Sabonis (Sophomore, Gonzaga)
Power Forward-Center/6’10/240/Age: 20
Product of…Unicaja Malaga
17.6 points/game, 11.8 rebounds/game, 1.8 assists/game.
With strong basketball bloodlines and a solid inside-out game, Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis is a potential top-10 pick in this month’s draft. As a sophomore, Sabonis averaged a double-double while showcasing a newfound ferocity on the glass. Much like his father, Arvydas, Domantas has a high basketball IQ and won’t back down from any challenge on the floor.
Honestly, it’s a little surprising Sabonis isn’t discussed as a top 5 pick. He’s already someone you can throw the rock down to and expect him to score – something most bigs in this class would love to feature as a part of their attack. Elite defensive potential & athleticism aren’t there but Sabonis wows with his ability to adapt on the fly and contribute in more ways than scoring.
NBA Skills: Low-post scoring
-Variety of moves in the mid-low post – can score via short Js, hooks with either hand, after rolls & dump offs; possesses great patience, footwork and picks seams to get buckets
-Runs the floor well – realizes the importance of post-lane sprinting, changes ends quickly; gets a lot of “gimme” shots as a result (led the WCC in effective field goal percentage in 2016; 62%)
-Doesn’t get outworked all too often; Sabonis has a nice base and uses his frame to gain positioning for rebounds and easy scores on offense; teammates feed off his infectious energy
-Pretty decent defender but won’t overwhelm with his quickness or athleticism; will need to learn to defend without fouling and mastering vertical contests
-Lefty jumper is a definitely a work in progress; only started taking threes last season but needs to extend his range and develop a quicker release
-Not exactly Arvydas when it comes to passing (not many people are!); needs to work on playmaking out of the high post, finding cutters and dishing to shooters out of double teams
NBA DOG Status: Star UnderDOG
Domantas Sabonis could be a top 5-7 player from this class once it’s all said and done. His versatility as 4-5 man is impressive and he’s still scratching the surface as a jump shooter and “vertical defender.”
Sabonis isn’t as big as a guy like Marc Gasol but is a bit more mobile on offense and is a tireless worker on the glass. While he has a ways to go before he’s a franchise-caliber center (needs to continue to improve his passing, jumper and defense), the foundation is present – it’s just gonna take the right situation to unlock his crazy potential.
NBA Comparison: Marc Gasol (BEST-CASE)