Sacramento Kings 2023-24 season preview: Domantas Sabonis
Sep 29, 2023, 12:20 PM
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
It’s about that time.
If you’ve been counting down the days until Sacramento Kings basketball returns, we are less than two weeks away from October 8th’s preseason opener in Vancouver, Canada.
As we prepare for another season of NBA action in the 916, it’s time to dive into this year’s Kings team and break down each player on the opening night roster.
Today, we’ll look at All-NBA and All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, who is fresh off of inking a five-year extension that will keep him in Sacramento through the 2027-28 season.
How did Domantas Sabonis perform during the 2022-23 season?
Sabonis had one of the best seasons from a center in the league’s lengthy history, averaging 19.1 points, 12.3 rebounds (led the NBA), and 7.3 assists (career-high) while shooting 61 percent from the field.
Only one other player in NBA history has averaged 19-12-7 while shooting 60 percent or higher from the field: Wilt Chamberlain.
The star center led the league in rebounds per game, total rebounds, and double-doubles (65) while also ranking top-five in win shares (12.6, second), offensive win shares (9.6, second), and assists (573, fifth).
Only two-time MVP Nikola Jokic (29) had more triple-doubles than Sabonis this season, as the Kings center finished the year with 14.
Sabonis was named to the NBA All-Star team for the third time in his career and received All-NBA Third Team honors along with his teammate and fellow All-Star, De’Aaron Fox.
Domantas Sabonis’ strengths & weaknesses
The nickname ‘Mr. Double-Double’ should be enough to hint that Sabonis is a force on the glass.
Sabonis led the NBA in rebounds per game (12.3) and total rebounds (973) in 2022-23, an incredible feat when you factor in Sacramento’s team rank in rebounds per game (20th).
The Lithuanian big man single-handedly won games on the boards for the Kings, an aspect of his game that factored into his second-place finish in win shares (12.6), only training two-time MVP center Nikola Jokic (14.9).
Sabonis was a force around the rim in 2022-23, as the 27-year-old converted 75 percent of his attempts at the rim over nearly 500 attempts.
While rebounding and scoring around the basket are clear strengths for Sabonis, what makes him a juggernaut for opposing defenses is his ability to run the offense–both on the break and from half-court sets.
Sabonis finished the 2022-23 season having averaged 7.3 assists per game (11th in the NBA) as the center set the table for his Kings teammates in a variety of ways.
During the NBA Playoffs, Sabonis infamously ran into a brick wall while facing the Golden State Warriors.
The name of that wall was Kevon Looney, who created problems for Sabonis by forcing him to take mid-range jumpers. Sabonis shot 48 percent from three-to-ten feet away from the basket and 44 percent from 16 feet to the three-point line in 2022-23.
Now, those aren’t horrible percentages by any means, but it’s an area of his game to keep an eye on this season, especially when opposing defenses saw what happens to Sabonis when you push him out of the paint.
Foul trouble is another area of Sabonis’ game that the big man will need to work on this year after finishing second in fouls per game (3.57) in 2022-23.
What to expect from Domantas Sabonis in 2023-24
Sabonis is the second half of the motor that makes Sacramento go, with Fox being the other half that brings it all together.
The Kings are at their best when both players are on the floor, something that was the case more times than not during Sacramento’s impressive 48-win season.
If Sabonis, who played a majority of last year with a fractured hand, can get anywhere close to his production from 2022-23 in 2023-24, we could be looking at another All-Star nod for the Gonzaga product and another playoff berth for the up-and-coming Kings.
Health will be crucial to Sabonis’ season being a success, but the potential is there for number 10 to continue building on his Sacramento legacy.
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule
- Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
- Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
- Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule
- Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
- Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)