Stat of the Week: Jokic, Giannis, and…Domantas Sabonis
When the Sacramento Kings decided to trade young guard Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, it was a shock to pretty much everyone that pays attention to Kings basketball.
February’s NBA trade deadline was comparable to a swift rip-of-the-band-aid for Kings fans as it became clear that a shakeup was needed for a roster that was barreling towards an NBA-record 16th-consecutive losing season. The Haliburton-for-Sabonis swap was a shock to many, but it didn’t take long for the two-time All-Star to fall into the good graces of Kings fans.
Over 15 appearances with Sacramento, the 6’11 big averaged 18.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 55 percent from the field.
Sabonis’ first game in a Kings uniform was arguably the most re-watchable game of the team’s 2021-22 campaign, with an active and energized Golden 1 Center crowd hanging onto every play during a 132-119 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
If you have watched Domantas Sabonis play basketball, you know that he can do everything on the offensive end.
Score? He’s nearly a 20-point scorer. Rebound? One of the best rebounders in the game. Pass? Sabonis is one of the best distributors in the game at his position and is capable of running an offense out of the post in certain sets, something Kings fans haven’t seen since the days of Vlade Divac and DeMarcus Cousins.
During Sacramento’s loss to the Boston Celtics on March 18th, Sabonis became the first King to post a 20+ point, 15+ rebound, 5+ assist line since DeMarcus Cousins did so in January of 2017. The Lithuanian center scored 30 points, pulled down 20 boards and dished out five assists during the losing effort.
Sabonis’ offensive game over the past two seasons has placed him into some elite company, as the 26-year-old is one of five players to rack up seven or more games with 20+ points, 15+ rebounds, and 5+ assists:
Players with the most 20+ point, 15+ rebound and 5+ assist games since the start of the 2020-21 season:
Nikola Jokic – 37
Giannis Antetokounmpo – 21
𝗗𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗮𝘀 𝗦𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗻𝗶𝘀 – 11
Russell Westbrook – 7
Julius Randle – 7
Looking forward to seeing more from the Kings big. pic.twitter.com/GfRJsxcXp0
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) August 24, 2022
The most-recent two Most Valuable Player award winners, Giannis Antetokounmpo (2019, 2020) and Nikola Jokic (2021, 2022) are atop this list with 37 games and 21 games, respectively.
Third on the list? Domantas Sabonis with 11 games.
With Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox in the fold for a full season, Sacramento is hopeful that this new duo can be the leading charge behind the franchise’s first postseason berth since the 2005-06 season.
Now that the Kings have a surplus of three-point shooters on the perimeter in Harrison Barnes, Malik Monk, Kevin Huerter, and Keegan Murray, expect Sabonis to continue adding onto that 11-game total in the coming months.