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Pacers Countdown: Newcomer Domantas Sabonis Gives Pacers Another Talented, Young Big

In trading Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder this past summer, the Pacers not only acquired Victor Oladipo, but also 21-year-old big man Domantas Sabonis.

Stacy Revere | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s not forget the other piece the Pacers acquired for Paul George back in June.

With Victor Oladipo’s ties to the state of Indiana, it’s understandable why the 2013 No. 2 overall pick has received so many headlines in now becoming the main perimeter guy for the Pacers.

But also in exchange for George, the Pacers received a former lottery draft pick, in 6-11, 240-pound Domantas Sabonis.

Taken with the 11th overall pick in 2016, Sabonis started 66-of-81 games for the Thunder last season.

Sabonis averaged 5.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game in playing just a tick more than 20 minutes per contest.

In coming over to the Pacers this offseason, Sabonis made an early impression during pick-up games.

The Pacers will likely utilize Sabonis as the main backup to Myles Turner, or even alongside the fellow lottery pick.

Unlike the young Turner, Sabonis’ main strength involves a more traditional big man look---a guy that can score in the post, and does most of his damage around the basket.

“He’s been looking good down there in the post,” forward Glenn Robinson III said of Sabonis earlier this preseason. “He obviously didn’t get as many opportunities with (Russell Westbrook) handling the ball and everything. But when we throw it down there, he’s looking good.”

“We need a bruiser guy like that.”

GRII is right.

The Pacers do need a player like Sabonis to complement Turner, and even Thaddeus Young.

During the preseason, Sabonis showed some nice production in playing about 20 minutes off the bench.

Games of 8 and 5, 17 and 7, and 12 and 13 highlighted the preseason action for Sabonis.

As the son of NBA Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, Domantas does have some European-style to his game (has passing ability to go along with his high basketball IQ), even though he played collegiately at Gonzaga.

When the Pacers talk about their future, the names most often mentioned are Oladipo and Turner.

But Sabonis has the pedigree to become a big part of that core as well.


2017 Pacers Preseason Schedule (3-1 record)

-Wednesday, Oct. 4: Won at Milwaukee104-86. (Myles Turner: 17 points, 10 rebounds; Victor Oladipo: 15 points; Lance Stephenson: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists)

-Friday, Oct. 6: Won at Cleveland, 106-102. (Rookie T.J. Leaf led the Pacers with 18 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point range; Domantas Sabonis added 17 off the bench; Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner led the starters with 14 and 12 points, respectively).

-Monday, Oct. 9: Lost at Detroit, 107-96. (The Pacers rested four starters and their top two bench players on Monday night. Veterans Damien Wilkins-14 points and Al Jefferson-12 points led the Pacers in scoring).

-Tuesday, Oct. 10: Beat Maccabi Haifa, 108-89. (Victor Oladipo led seven Pacers in double figures with 18 points, inlcuding 4-of-5 from three-point land, playing against the 2016-17 Israeli Super League runner-up).


Regular Season Watch

The Pacers will open up the 2017-18 regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 18 against the Brooklyn Nets.

Will Wednesday’s Regular Season Opener be Start of Pacers Playoff Journey?
With four-time All-Star Paul George no longer in the blue and gold, how much different will the Pacers look in 2017-18?
What is the outlook for the rookies of the Indiana Pacers in 2017-18?
With Paul George gone, the Pacers will turn to Victor Oladipo when the game is on the line.
What was learned about the Pacers’ four-game preseason slate heading into next week’s regular season opener?