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Comparing Domantas Sabonis’ season to his two All-Star seasons

What the big man is doing this season is impressive and deserves league-wide recognition.

On Monday Domantas Sabonis was named Western Conference Player of the Week, so this is a good time to talk about the All-Star race. Domantas Sabonis was named an All Star two times during his time with the Indiana Pacers, as a reserve in the 2019-20 season and as a replacement for Kevin Durant in the 2020-21 season.

Here are the stats during those seasons:

  • 2019-20: 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 5 assists, 25% from three, 54% from the field, 72% from the line, .8 steals, .5 blocks.
  • 2020-21: 20.3 points, 12 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 32% from three, 53% from the field, 73% from the line, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks.

Now, let’s take a look at this season:

  • 2022-23: 18.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 38% from three, 61% from the field, 74% from the line, .8 steals, .5 blocks.

From a number’s perspective, Sabonis is averaging more rebounds, more assists, and shooting better from three, the field and the line than he did in both of his All-Star seasons. Now, he isn’t at that 20 points-per-game mark, but he also is taking 2-3 less shots per game than he did in those seasons. When a team is built with the type of offense the Kings have, Sabonis doesn’t need to take as many shots and can focus more on ball movement, which is probably why he is averaging a career-high 7.1 assists.

This season, according to Cleaning The Glass, he is in the 98th percentile at his position for assist-to-usage ratio, the highest of his career. He also is in the 98th percentile in assist percentage. And lastly, he is in the 98th percentile in defensive rebounding, the highest of his career. Not to mention that in 41 games, he is leading the league in rebounds (12.6) and double-doubles (33). He is third in triple doubles (4).

Oh, and he has the Kings leading the league in points per game (120).

And then there are the historical stats:

In the early return All Star voting for the Western Conference front court, Sabonis wasn’t listed. Players who were:

  • Draymond Green (who is averaging 7.9 points, 7 rebounds and 6.7 assists).
  • Kevon Looney (who is averaging 6.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists).

Andrew Wiggins and Kawhi Leonard (who has played in 21 games) are also listed. It isn’t too surprising considering this is the NBA fan vote, and we all know it is a popularity contest, but the biggest stat that should justify Sabonis earning a spot is this: The Sacramento Kings are the 4th seed in the Western Conference and have been in that range for quite some time now.

The Sacramento Kings are the 4th seed.

And of course, De’Aaron Fox and Mike Brown deserve a good part of the credit for this season, but let’s be honest, the Kings are not in this position without Sabonis. Everything the team does runs through this man, and he has put them on his shoulders with a busted thumb. He has embraced Sacramento and its fans, and he brings back memories of the last time this franchise turned the corner through highly skilled bigs. He deserves an All-Star spot and could still get one even if it as a replacement, but should he not make it, it doesn’t really matter. That is because after wins when Kings fans gather around the outside of Golden 1 Center waiting for that beam to light like it is New Year’s Eve, it is largely because of No. 10. And that makes him an MVP to Sacramento.

To vote for Sabonis and Fox as All-Stars, click here.

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Jack
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January 17, 2023 4:22 pm

He might not make it because its a popularity vote.To me he is an all star but more importantly he is a winner. Let him,the team. the coaches and the fans go to the playoffs and kick some butts. GO KINGS!

outrider
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January 17, 2023 4:49 pm

This is clearly a case where the counting stats, as good as they are, don’t truly show how much he’s killing it out there every night.

The advanced stats help paint the whole picture, but it is truly a pleasure to watch the man go to work every night. And he’s made the team and teammates better. What else is the dude supposed to do?

He’s an All Star. Period. Do the right thing NBA and make it so.

Last edited 20 days ago by outrider
Kosta
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January 17, 2023 8:07 pm
Reply to  outrider

What else is the dude supposed to do?

Do más

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Last edited 20 days ago by Kosta
RobHessing
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January 17, 2023 4:50 pm

Rank the NBA centers in the here and now, factoring in current performance and health:

  1. Jokic
  2. Embiid
  3. Sabonis?
outrider
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January 17, 2023 4:51 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Works for me. Can you even think of a challenger for the 3 spot?

RobHessing
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January 17, 2023 4:52 pm
Reply to  outrider

Abedayo would be my closest, I think.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 17, 2023 6:53 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Yup. I’d say it’s a toss up at #3 between Sabonis and Bam, your milage may vary. I’d also say Pascal Siakam, who’s been playing a small ball center all for most of the year, as a close 5th. All three of them are having career years, and all they all should be all-stars.

Sadly, there are going to be quite a few deserving snubs this year. It’s an very unfortunate circumstance of fan voting. I’d have no problem if all-stars were chosen by players, media, and coaches. Make some sort of “All-Fan” team to award instead of All-Star.

outrider
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January 17, 2023 7:11 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Good call.

Kingsguru21
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January 18, 2023 11:23 am
Reply to  RobHessing

And there’s definitely a gap between Domas and Bam at this point. A fairly large gap as of now.

Bam’s a legit All Star, too. That’s the type of year Domas is having.

BetweenAMitch_AHardPlace
January 17, 2023 9:56 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I’d take Domas over Embiid. The best kind of ability is availability! Plus, Embiid is kinda douchey. I think Embiid is more talented, but i would 100% rather have Domas over Embiid right here and right now, especially on this team.

WizsSox
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January 18, 2023 12:24 am

I love Domas. Love. Big Monte fan too.

But if Philly called with this trade and Monte turned it down I’d point the purple beam at Montes office to light it on fire.

andy_sims
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January 18, 2023 10:07 am
Reply to  WizsSox

Embiid with a group of actual shooters around him would be nuts.

Kosta
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January 17, 2023 8:10 pm

We basically have Lithuanian Lasagna Thor, lighting the Beam

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Last edited 20 days ago by Kosta
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 17, 2023 9:27 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Or as Jerry would say… the Tasmanian Lithuanian.

fossilizedflatus
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January 17, 2023 10:02 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Thor Thumb

(thorry, I couldn’t rethith)

Last edited 20 days ago by fossilizedflatus
Kosta
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January 18, 2023 1:40 pm

Brilliant!

ForKingsandCountry
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January 17, 2023 11:30 pm

I don’t think it’s even a question of whether or not he makes it: he’s in. The bigger question is whether or not he’s a starter. The fan vote doesn’t actually mean a whole lot and I think the coaches and players will have him in there easily.

For what’s it worth, Zach Lowe had Bill Simmons on his podcast and they had him as a starter on their ballots and they said it wasn’t much of a debate. Fox was a bigger question but they had him in as well.

Last edited 20 days ago by ForKingsandCountry
andy_sims
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January 18, 2023 10:08 am

Someone told Bill Simmons that there’s an NBA team in Sacramento?

Mixed feelings.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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January 18, 2023 8:55 am

Love how the players seemingly don’t care for the accolades themselves and just root for each other and the team. Fox calling Domas “All NBA” etc. I mean we all know they do care but the “win first, lift each other up” culture is so refreshing. Stats padding/trade value showboating isn’t happening here anymore. Fox sounds and looks like a different man from last year.

BigOfan
January 20, 2023 9:56 am

Sabonis is now on the fan list at #10.

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