Pacers See Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis Playing More Together In 2019-20
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Pacers believe the duo can play together and they are willing to see more and more of those lineups moving forward.
While some try and debate if it’s an 'either/or' thing when it comes to Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers seem pretty staunch in their belief on the young bigs.
“In my mind, I see those guys playing a lot of minutes together,” Kevin Pritchard says of Turner and Sabonis.
It’s clear that the Pacers want to expand the usage of Sabonis.
As a 6th Man of the Year candidate last season, Sabonis averaged 14.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds in playing 24.8 minutes off the bench.
Sabonis started just 5 games though.
That number could very well be rising next season.
“I think (Domas) wants a bigger role and I think we have to figure out how to get him a bigger role,” Pritchard says. “He’s a major force offensively and I think he can be a player that has a huge impact, not just as a 6th man, maybe as a starter. But that’s yet to be seen.”
With Sabonis’ ability to play as a more traditional big on the low block and Turner’s strength in stretching the floor, the Pacers like the offensive makeup of playing the two bigs together.
More questions arise on the defensive end when a guy like Sabonis is asked to chase around some stretch power forwards.
“I think Myles is getting to the point where he’s an elite defender and we need to use him more offensively,” Pritchard says. “I think he’s all-in. He said in his exit meeting he wants to be more of a 2-way player.
“I think Sabonis’ ceiling is really high offensively. If he’s willing to become a better defender, I don’t think there’s any doubt they can play together and play major minutes together.”
Last season, the duo was on the floor together for a total of 429 minutes. Those lineups had a net rating of plus 3.1.
It’s a small sample size, but something that might have to be explored much more next season, depending on what happens to the roster makeup this summer.
“They can play together,” Nate McMillan says. “You look at some of these teams in the playoffs, they are big. Detroit is big. Philadelphia is big. Toronto is big. Denver is big. I think the game is going to turn and you are going to see more power forwards and centers playing the game together again as opposed to the spread 4 we’ve seen in the last 5, 10 years.
“Myles will play the center on the defensive end of the floor. Domas will play the 4 on the defensive end of the floor. On the offensive end of the floor, we’ve put Sabonis at the 5-spot and we spread Myles, so we have that versatility to be able to use the bigs like that. We are going to continue to develop and continue to improve.”