Realistic Expectations for OKC Thunder Rookie Domantas Sabonis in 2016-17

July 8th, 2016 by Jonathan Wasserman Leave a reply »

A breakout year at Gonzaga launched Domantas Sabonis into the 2016 NBA lottery.

He didn't land with a lottery team, though. The Oklahoma City Thunder, who'd been tracking Sabonis all season, unloaded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic in a deal to acquire Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the No. 11 pick, which they'd use on the Lithuanian big man.

"But this is a guy [Sabonis] that our scouts Will Dawkins, Troy Weaver, Brandon Miller, Ryan Lambert, these guys have watched him throughout the year and felt like he would be someone we'd want to add to the program," general manager Sam Presti told the Oklahoman's Anthony Slater.

Sabonis made a significant sophomore jump and made noise in the NCAA tournament, particularly against Utah (19 points, 10 rebounds) when he blatantly outplayed the No. 9 pick Jakob Poeltl.

More of just a dirty-work type of player as a freshman, Sabonis evolved into a tougher post weapon and a threatening shooter. He raised his scoring average to 17.6 points from 9.7 and hit 22-of-45 jump shots (including five threes), per DraftExpress' Matt Kamalsky.

He continued rebounding at an ...

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