The Sacramento Kings home tip-off was in a new location at a new time. And he only had a few hours to absorb basic sets from a new playbook. But Domantas Sabonis picked up exactly where he left off as a two-time All-Star with the Pacers in his Kings debut.
He set steadfast shipping screens to let loose colleagues on the border and he started spill hand-offs. He threw exact bob passes to secondary passage cutters when directed in twofold groups. And He ripped his strategy for getting around the crate with a whirlwind of post twists and bounce. Snares when he tracked down breaks in the safeguard and moved to the edge when he tracked down in the protection.
Sabonis completed that night with 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and a steal in 32 minutes against the Timberwolves. Demonstrating all of the qualities that make him a triple-double danger every time he goes on the court. He collects double-digit rebounds in 11 of his next 14 games for the Kings. And throw six or more assists nine times.
Sacramento Kings Sabonis has the most screen assists of any player.
The 6-foot-11 center’s new team numbers were identical to his previous two seasons with his former one: 18.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Only the previous two MVP winners, Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, have equaled that statline since 2019-20.
Despite having just a few sessions with his Kings teammates. Sabonis appeared to know precisely where they’d be on the court. And how to get them in scoring position, often throwing passes before the defense could rotate. According to Cleaning the Glass, his 27.1 assist rate ranks in the 98th percentile among NBA bigs. According to NBA, only Jokic has made more passes (57.6 per game) and recorded more potential assists (10.9) since joining the Kings.
The ability of No. 10 to remain set on screens and constantly creatively re-screen was essential for an offense that ran the fifth-most pick-and-roll possessions in the NBA. Since the midseason swap. Sabonis has led all players in screen assists (5.8 per game) and ended second only to Utah’s Rudy Gobert in points produced with those selections (13.7).
That pleased De’Aaron Fox, one of the game’s excellent at getting to the basket and shooting from mid-range. Harrison Barnes, and Sacramento Kings other outside shooters, who had more time and room to make three-pointers.
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