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NBA India Games 2019

NBA India Games 2019: Fast facts on Indiana Pacers' forward Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis
(NBA Getty Images)

Domantas Sabonis could probably be the only second-generation NBA player when the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings face-off in two preseason games in Mumbai on October 4 and 5.

The Lithuanian-American is an integral part of how the Pacers play and has been a huge part of the success that the franchise has tasted in the past couple of seasons - 48 wins and two first round appearances in the Playoffs.

Background

Domantas Sabonis is the son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis and was born on May 3rd, 1996 in Portland, Oregon.

High school & College

Prior to committing to any college in the United States, Sabonis had played for a couple of professional teams in Spain. However, he ensured no contract was signed to remain eligible for the NCAA.

Before the 2014-15 season, Sabonis committed to the Gonzaga University. During both his years at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs won the WCC (West Coast Conference) title and he was named to the All-WCC teams (Second team in 2015 and First team in 2016).

In 2015, the Bulldogs went as far as the Elite Eight, at the NCAA Tournament, following a loss to the eventual champions in Duke while the following year, they were knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen by Syracuse.

At the end of the 2015-16 season, Sabonis decided to forego his remaining years at Gonzaga for the NBA Draft.

NBA career

Domantas Sabonis was drafted 11th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2016 Draft.

However, on Draft night, the 11th pick (Sabonis) along with Ersan Ilyasova and Victor Oladipo were traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Serge Ibaka.

His rookie season with the Thunder was the year Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the season and went on to win MVP. Sabonis played 81 games, as a rookie, averaging 5.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assist on 39.9% shooting from the field in 20.1 minutes on the floor.

Those numbers took a huge leap when he began representing the Indiana Pacers. In the offseason of 2017, he was traded along with Oladipo to the Pacers in exchange for Paul George.

In his two full seasons with the Indiana franchise, Sabonis has come off the bench in 124 of the 148 games played and has proved to be an invaluable piece in the team's frontcourt.

In 24.6 minutes on the floor, Sabonis has averaged 12.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists on 55.3% shooting from the field over the past two seasons with the Pacers.

Despite being born in Portland, he represents the Lithuanian national team. He first debuted on the senior team in 2015, beating Jonas Valanciunas' record (19 years and 3 months) for the all-time youngest Lithuanian to debut in a game for the senior national team.

Following his solid debut, where he scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds, he qualified for the national team at EuroBasket 2015. In that FIBA tournament, Lithuania lost in the final to Spain for their second consecutive EuroBasket sliver medal.

Having qualified, Sabonis also represented his country at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Skill set

At 6-11, Sabonis is incredibly agile and has carried over the unique big-man passing skills from his father.

Aside from Oladipo, who has been an All-Star, there is an argument to make that Sabonis was the Pacers' second-most valuable player over the last two seasons. Not to mention the fact that he is just 23 and has plenty of years ahead of him.

For more updates and stories on the NBA India Games 2019, you can follow NBA.com's page dedicated to the historic event.

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