2016 NBA Draft: Domantas Sabonis scouting report
Domantas Sabonis 2016 NBA Draft scouting report
Domantas Sabonis scouting report
Domantas Sabonis, a sophomore forward from Gonzaga, is the son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis. Domantas shares some of his father’s attributes, but they couldn’t be anymore different in other ways.
Click through the slides for Sabonis' strengths, weaknesses, and his fit on the Celtics.
The low post game is dissolving in a modern NBA that values shooting and spacing. But as we’re seeing in the playoffs, it still helps to score inside. Sabonis, at just 20, is advanced for his age. He has a myriad of moves that’ll give fans flashes of Celtics teams from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Sabonis is a classic player in that sense. He relies on feel for the game over athleticism to make an impact. His timing is flawless, he can pass, set screens, and finish with both hands around the rim.
Best of all, Sabonis’ motor never stops running. He plays hard, which helps him overcome his limitations, since he’s willing to take charges and he rebounds at a magnificent level.
For Sabonis to reach his potential on offense he’ll need to extend his shooting range. He made advances but he has stiff mechanics that could make it tough adjusting to the NBA line. If he doesn’t develop his shot, he’ll likely be relegated to the role of cleanup man near the rim.
Sabonis puts himself in positions to succeed on defense by quickly rotating, but his short wingspan and above average lateral quickness limits his potential to be anything more than a “hustle guy.” He has shown flashes of being able to switch onto smaller players, though he hasn’t done it frequently enough to have confident in his ability to do it against All-Star level players.
If the Celtics can sustain a high-level defense with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk protecting the rim, then they can with Sabonis. He enters the league with better fundamentals and his high motor with fit right in with the likes of Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder. The Celtics also get beat up on the boards, an area Sabonis shines.
Sabonis isn’t a perfect fit on offense, since he is neither a rim runner (like Amir Johnson) or floor spacer (like Kelly Olynyk). But his timing, instincts, and passing would be valuable to the team, and there’s always the possibility he develops beyond expectations.
There’s a good chance Sabonis falls to the Celtics at the No. 16 pick, though he’s ranked here as a mid-lottery pick. If Sabonis is on the Celtics’ radar, they should consider trading up for in the No. 8-12 range, just to assure themselves the chance to select him.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.