In an unexpected move, Thunder GM Sam Presti made a major trade on the night of the 2016 NBA Draft just a few months ago when he sent Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and rookie Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis is the son of basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis. He was drafted tenth overall by the Magic before he was packaged in the trade to come to Oklahoma City.
Prior to the draft, Domantas Sabonis played two years of international basketball followed by two years of college ball at Gonzaga University. In his second season at Gonzaga, Sabonis averaged 17.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and .9 blocks in 31.9 minutes per game. Sabonis led the Bulldogs to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2016 NCAA Basketball tournament, and he was a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, awarded to the NCAA’s top center.
In six preseason games with the Thunder, Domantas Sabonis averaged 6.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists in 23.7 minutes per game. While his statistics do not look particularly impressive, what stood out about Sabonis in his play was how comfortable he looked on the court, as well as his impressive footwork and high basketball IQ.
It appears that Sabonis will start for Oklahoma City at the power forward position, which will give Thunder fans an opportunity to see just how good as soon as the season begins. While he will likely only average around 20 minutes of playtime, Sabonis should have no trouble finding a way to contribute with his impressive array of skills.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter.