Domantas Sabonis – the gift that gave:
2016 NBA Draft: Round 1, Pick 11
No doubt the initial entrant on this list of 15 will be considered a controversial selection. Logic would dictate choosing a player currently on the Thunder with potential upside. Instead, the player who grabs the opening spot is Domantas Sabonis.
The son of the uber-talented Arvydas Sabonis was technically drafted by Orlando. Yet, the power forward’s stay with the Magic wasn’t even long enough for a quick trip to Disney World. He became part of the trade package (with Victor Oladipo) which sent Serge Ibaka to the Magic.
In his rookie season with OKC Sabonis started in 66 games and played in 81 of the full season of 82. Sabonis posted meager stats with Billy Donovan electing to utilize him as a stretch four failing to capitalize on his interior prowess.
But, this meager showing in Sabonis’ rookie season is not why he makes the list. Rather, it was his trade value and more specifically what the return was. Granted, Oladipo became the primary asset in the trade with the Pacers.
Still, Sabonis made major leaps this season doubling almost all his primary categories in Indiana. Indiana moved him to the center position where he thrived and became part of the Pacers’ future core.
Yet, the primary reason Sabonis makes the list is Paul George. Should PG re-sign this offseason then Sabonis warrants arguably an even higher position on this list.