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4 Takeaways from Sam Amick’s Interview with Domantas Sabonis

Some fun insights from a candid Sabonis.
By | 8 Comments | Jan 29, 2024

Dec 22, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) warms up before the game against the Phoenix Suns at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic’s Sam Amick has a great interview up today with Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis. In the interview, Sabonis discusses his offseason training regiment, as well as Sacramento’s early struggles this season.

A few of my favorite takeaways from the article:

Sabonis is obsessive about improving himself. 

“That desperation to stay over here (in the NBA vs. playing in Europe) because I love it, and try to get better, I don’t think that’s gonna change,” Sabonis said. “My family and friends always laugh at me, like, ‘Oh, you’re always gonna want more, or to keep going.’ They always know. There’s no calm time with me.”

The fact that Sabonis is worried about being out of the NBA and being banished to play in Europe is pretty funny. Sabonis was 7th in MVP voting last season, is a 3-time All Star (on his way, hopefully, to a 4th), and leads the league in rebounding. And yet he’s still got imposter syndrome.

Sabonis spent the offseason training with Doug Christie

Different finishes off one foot, off the wrong foot, having bands involved. He’s just pushing me. I get bumped a lot when I go up, so it was learning how to finish in those areas. When I shoot, they’re closing out or using a stick, one of those fluffy sticks, hitting me on my legs because, when you shoot, sometimes you get scared you’re gonna step on the ankle. So it’s trying to block all that out and just focus on your shot. Sitting in chairs, finishes with the right hand in a chair under the rim, which is really hard. Standing up in a chair and using heavy balls, big balls, small balls. (Christie) is into all that, and I really trust him.

We needed cameras in Napa for Doug and Domas hanging out in Napa and training all summer. I would have watched that.

Leandro Barbosa can still ball

And then once (Kings assistant coach Leandro) Barbosa came, having him helped a lot more too because that’s a guard who still can play. I played against him in FIBA competitions. We can play ones, and then when any other teammate came to work out with me this summer we could do two-on-two. (Barbosa) is a full player. He’s aggressive, really good on defense.

I just enjoyed that nugget.

The Kings players know they need to control those mental lapses

But we know we’ve dropped a lot of games where we’ve had full control. Just in this last week, the Phoenix and the Milwaukee (losses), those would have been two wins where we would have been up in fourth or fifth (place) or whatever it is, you know? It’s tough, because we know we are better. We’ve shown it. We just sometimes go through these mental lapses in games, which are very, very controllable.

It’s not surprising that the players are self-aware, but it’s still nice to have confirmation.

***

The whole interview is really great, I highly recommend giving the whole thing a read.

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MichaelMack
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January 29, 2024 10:45 am

I am glad you highlighted this Greg, I was excited to see it on The Athletic this morning.

Amonk81
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January 29, 2024 11:53 am

Great to hear about Sabs working in his game. That’s hugely hopeful for the playoffs/contending. Maybe Sabonis will get his mid range good enough so teams won’t sag off.

I really appreciate how much effort and hustle and consistency Sabonis brings.

I don’t think she’s really the one who loses focus on this team.

9sac8
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January 29, 2024 12:03 pm

This may sound like straight lunacy, but with 38 games left 🤔 🤔🤔…I’m all in on the Kings finishing 33-5.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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January 29, 2024 1:06 pm
Reply to  9sac8

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Perfectly reasonable.

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January 29, 2024 1:13 pm

Gotta be happy with Domas on the Kings. He plays his butt off, every play, he’s all about the team, he’s dedicated, smart, and I believe he is fluent in (at least) 4 languages. He leads the League in rebounding and double doubles and when he misses out on a triple-double we just said he had an off game. We can dismantle him by his faults but I appreciate his gifts more. He has continued the family legacy proudly.

Great player for the Kings, great ambassador for the team and the League. (and I will add – he is the Anti-Boogie).

NorCalKingsFan
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January 29, 2024 3:14 pm

It’s funny to hear him think that he may not be good enough to play in the NBA; it says a lot towards his mental makeup (as the son of a famous player) of always having to prove himself to others or maybe prove to himself that he deserves to be here. That’s the kind of work ethic that can take even an average player and turn them into a great one.

He’s such a humble dude, I’m super happy to have him and Fox on the team. I not only route for them as Kings players, but genuinely like them as people.

Sacto_J
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January 29, 2024 4:21 pm

for 50 cents a week you, too, could help feed a starving journalist and get the latest scoops on all your favorite sports teams…lol
No thanks.

I appreciate the snippets, that’s enough of that for me.
Great to see him getting some appreciation, nationally, tho. He’s definitely the MVP of the Kings.

andy_sims
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January 29, 2024 4:32 pm

It’s an obsession, but not an unhealthy one as far as I can tell. I don’t know about the impostor syndrome aspect, but Fox and a number of other players seem very focused on getting better in ways that are good for the team and themselves.

These aren’t guys who show up fat to training camp.

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