The Indiana Pacers are a solid team in the Eastern Conference. However, teams like the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and the New York Knicks made exponential improvements this offseason. The balance in the league has slowly shifted, which will put Indiana in a tougher position than before.
The Pacers made it to the NBA’s new play-in tournament as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers did not make improvements this offseason as they do not have much money to spend on free agents. The organization is still looking for ways to deal guard/forward Jeremy Lamb who has been dealing with injuries that have kept him sidelined for the majority of the season.
What Are the Pacers’ Plans
The Philadelphia 76ers rejected a trade that would have sent Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick in exchange for Ben Simmons. One NBA executive stated that Turner is going to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award, but not with the Pacers as they could get off to a slow start.
Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner have been involved in many trade rumors this offseason could be a distraction of how Domantas Sabonis means to the team in the long run. Over the years, the Pacers have had a tough time surrounding a team around their All-Star forward even after bringing in Caris Lavert who found major success in Indiana. The question many ask is that Sabonis is the most underrated player in the league.
Is Domantas Sabonis the Most Underrated Player in the League?
The two-time All-Star averaged 20.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 6.7 APG last season. Surprisingly, Sabonis almost missed making the All-Star Game and got selected because Kevin Durant was dealing with an injury at the time. However, Sabonis is essentially a triple-double threat every time he’s on the court.
He has been one of the most consistent players in the league ever since he was dealt to the Pacers. Sabonis is currently 25 years old and has yet to enter the prime of his career. Sabonis was third on the team in scoring but led the team in rebounds and assists.
In terms of statistics on a larger scale, he averaged more points per game than rising star Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies. He also averaged more assists per game than All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets. Finally, he averaged more rebounds per game than Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers who was arguably the MVP of the first half of last season.
Sabonis has been extremely underrated because he does not play in a big market. A similar rise to stardom could be Julius Randle who made his first All-Star appearance this season. Under Tom Thibodeau, the offense ran through Randle. Randle has also relied on the three-point shot, which rose 13.4 percent from 2019.
New head coach Rick Carlisle believes that Sabonis can improve in his ability to shoot in order to take his game to another level.
”The next logical thing is to work at gradually improving the 3-point shot,…If you can mix a consistent outside game with the kind of inside game he has, it makes him even more unguardable.”
Myles Turner is a career 35.2 percent three-point shooter which is three percent higher than Sabonis’ career percentage. If Sabonis becomes a better shooter from behind the arc, Sabonis will gain more credibility for what he has been able to do in Indiana. Do you believe that Sabonis is the most underrated player in the NBA?