Suns draft profile: Domantas Sabonis

March 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Domantas Sabonis (11) celebrates against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the first half in the finals of the women's West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

March 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Domantas Sabonis (11) celebrates against the Saint Mary’s Gaels during the first half in the finals of the women’s West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Domantas Sabonis

6′ 11″ 240 lbs PF/C

2015-16 stats at Gonzaga: 31.8 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 BPG, 0.6 SPG

It has been a while since I have written here, but have no fear I have more to say! Domantas Sabonis is one of my favorite players in this draft as he is from my alma mater, Gonzaga.

This is going to be a little different from the other draft profiles. Back in March I wrote up a bit of a scouting report for Sabonis and it’s broken down into outline form. I also base my observations mostly on tape from the West Coast Conference tournament. The videos I reference are from the Robert Perry Network on YouTube.  Go check out his channel.

So now that I’ve explained all of this here is the profile!

  1. Strengths:
    1. Rebounding – This is Sabonis’ greatest strength. He gets great positioning inside and grabs boards on the offensive and defensive ends.
    2. Post scoring – Sabonis has an array of NBA ready moves in the low post and he can often operate in the pinch post as well. He is left handed, which is not as common in basketball. His left hand hook shot has been unstoppable in the WCC.
    3. Passing – Sabonis is accustomed to being double and triple teamed down low. He makes good decisions and puts his passes in the right spots. This is especially noticeable in the high/low post game.
    4. Mid-range shooting – Sabonis’ mid-range shot has improved greatly over the past season. His form is good. He has also made some nice three pointers from the top of the key this season. He will need to work on three point shooting, but his good form sets him up for success.
    5. Basketball IQ/Intangibles – Sabonis knows this game very well. His father is NBA legend Arvydas Sabonis. It is apparent that Domantas has learned a lot from his father and this should help his learning curve in the NBA.
  2. Weaknesses:
    1. Lack of length – Sabonis is a decent defender, but his lack of length is a hindrance when defending long, strong post players.
    2. Turnovers down low – He brings the ball down low or puts the ball on the floor too often when it is unnecessary in the low post (similar to Alex Len). This is something that will improve when he is not continually double-teamed.
    3. Strength – Sabonis will need to gain some strength in order to be able to defend NBA post players.
    4. Frustration – This season Gonzaga has had a lack of leadership and when other players are not doing their jobs Sabonis can become visibly frustrated. This can lead to a lapse in concentration or foul trouble. This can also be a strength because he plays with passion and intensity for the entire game.
  3. NBA Draft Projected Position: Early-Mid first round
  4. Demonstration of skills

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZU1MxtsuDU

Rebounding and post moves 31:20-31:50

Mid-range shooting 36:30-36:36

High-low post passing 48:08-48:12

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k17UGyWz1Lo

Spacing, post positioning, finishing 20:58-21:10

Passing, decision making, ability to draw fouls 28:00-28:10

Offensive rebounding, inside scoring 1:14:20-1:14:30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2tDxq1KprU

Post scoring 7:40-7:50

Mid-range scoring 34:08-34:12

What I haven’t touched on in this outline is how Sabonis would fit on the Suns. Sabonis would fill a role of need in Phoenix, but the problem is that taking him at 13 would be a bit of a stretch with the other talent that would most likely be available at that point. The Suns need a versatile power forward and that is what Sabonis is, but he lacks the athleticism that the Suns need at the position.

It is clear that Phoenix is interested in Sabonis as he is one of the few players that have had individual workouts with the team.

The only way that I think the Suns end up with Sabonis is if they somehow make a trade that involves moving down from the 13 spot.

Here’s a more condensed highlight reel of Sabonis.

Mitch Krmpotich

Gonzaga University class of 2016. I'm a longtime college basketball writer and a big NBA fan. I'm also a die hard Broncos, Avalanche, Zags, and Suns fan.

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