Scouting Report: Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis is a power forward from Gonzaga University. Sabonis is 6’11 and has a wingspan of 6’10. For the year, he averaged, 31.8 minutes per game, 17.6 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists per game, 0.6 steals per game, 0.8 blocks per game, while shooting 61.1% from the field, and 35.7% from three.

Pros:

  • Effective scorer
  • Good set of post moves
  • Draws a lot of fouls
  • Good free throw shooter
  • Amazing footwork
  • Good in the pick-and-roll
  • Runs the floor well
  • Active on offense without the ball
  • Developing range on his shots
  • Good court vision
  • Good passing ability
  • Excellent rebounder
  • Defensive effort
  • Leadership skills
  • Basketball IQ
  • Energizer bunny

Cons:

  • Mid-range jumper consistency
  • Shooting mechanics need work
  • Holds the ball too long on offense
  • Foul prone
  • Limited shot blocking potential
  • Average athlete
  • Short wingspan

Overall:

Domantas Sabonis is one of the safer picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. Not only has Sabonis been a dominant force in college basketball, Sabonis was a member of the 2015 Lithuanian FIBA Europe team which won the silver medal , proving his success at multiple levels of the game.

On offense, Sabonis is gifted around the basket. He is an effective back to the basket scorer, with plenty of developed moves to keep the defense guessing. The footwork he possesses around the hoop is also one of the best I have seen in years, very similar t the dominate footwork of Jahlil Okafor. This combination of footwork and moves allows for Sabonis to draw a lot of contact and get to the line. Once at the line, Sabonis hits his free throws at around 77%, which is pretty good from a big. Sabonis has shown to be a great screener on the pick-and-roll, and crashes hard to the basket. When it comes to his jumper, Sabonis is still developing the mechanics and consistency to make it a weapon. His three point numbers are a little skewed, as this was rarely used by Sabonis, but does show the potential to become a stretch four with further development. Sabonis shows great court vision from a big man, with good passing capabilities.

On defense, Sabonis gives you 100% effort every single possession. His lack of elite athleticism and size cripple his ability to be an elite defender, but his effort makes him an above-average defender. He has good lateral speed, which allows for him to stay in front of his man on the perimeter, and his lack of length does not allow for him to fall back on it, and stay out of foul trouble. When things get into the paint, Sabonis likes to play physical, and can become foul prone. Depending on who your referees are, and how they want to officiate physicality on that given night, Sabonis could be in a bad position at the level. When it comes to rebounding, Sabonis was one of the best in the class. Due to his lack of leaping ability and length, Sabonis uses sound fundamentals to secure anything near him.

As an overall, Sabonis is a complete energizer type player with a lot of room to grow on the offensive side of the ball. Sabonis does not have a very high ceiling, but he has a high floor for a role player. Every team could stand to add a high energy, hustle, low post offensive skill set, and rebounding presence off the bench to do some dirty work, and give the starters a break. When it comes to his draft stock, Sabonis has limited his pre-draft workouts, Sabonis has limited those to, Boston, Utah, Phoenix, and Toronto. This basically puts his draft stock in the 9-16 range. Utah added Trey Lyles last season, so adding a similar player in Sabonis does not help their frontcourt. Toronto will likely be looking for a dominant defensive presence on the interior, so Sabonis just does not fit there. Boston and Phoenix could look to add some more depth to their frontcourt. Expect Sabonis to hear his name in the 12-16 range.

Pro Comparison: Luis Scola

Luis Scola has cemented himself in the league as an above-average role player. He is not athletically gifted, but has based his career off using excellent fundamentals, and giving 100% effort on both ends of the court, something many expect Sabonis to give as well. Scola was a bit older when he actually joined the league, so Sabonis has a lot of room to grow, and become a better version of Scola.

On offense, both players are tremendous scorers near the basket. They use their sound footwork and numerous offensive post moves to score at will on opponents. Scola had a much more developed mid-range jumper, but he was also 28, and had been playing on the international level for many years. If Sabonis starts working with a shooting coach early after being drafted, he could easily build the confidence to have a reliable mid-range game before the start of his rookie season. In terms of passing, both players have great vision and passing abilities to keep their teammates involved.

On defense, Scola is not an elite defender, but his effort and intensity make him a constant nuisance for the opposing team. Sabonis is very similar in this regard, as you can beat him, but he will make you constantly work for it. In terms of rebounding, Sabonis has the upper hand, thanks to bigger size, but both use great fundamentals to be active on the boards. In his glory days for the Houston Rockets, Scola was averaging near 9 rebounds per game, something Sabonis could easily do.

Luis Scola came into the league with the Houston Rockets, and had five very good seasons. He peaked as a 18.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game in the 2010-2011 season. Sabonis brings the same type of intensity and potential Scola had a few years back, and many of these mid-lottery teams could look to add this type of player to their rotation. Even if Sabonis does not develop an outside shot, and is offensively limited, expect Sabonis to have a long career in the NBA, as his effort and rebounding presence is perfect for a bench role until he decides to retire.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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