Is Sabonis's best position PF or C?

What Position should Sabonis primarily play?


  • Total voters
    30
#1
Are the Kings playing Sabonis at his optimal position? Sabonis has been struggling a bit early in the season.

In Indiana during his All-Star campaigns, Sabonis played primarily at PF and Myles Turner was the Center. Looking at how small Sabonis looked vs the centers early in this season, is it time to switch him back to PF?

The Kings can put Len in as a full sized Center and slide Sabonis over to PF and move Barnes to 6th man roll.

What do y'all think is the best way to maximize Sabonis's talents?
 
#8
I haven’t had a chance to watch the Lithuanian team play. Do you think the different international rules make that pairing easier or more effective at all?
Most definitely do. Honestly if Keegan can be a floor spacer and at the same time a weak side help defender while Sabonis doesn't just cede position than you have the makings of something. But Sabonis can't be pushed around by the bigger Cs otherwise the point is moot. Sabonis has to maintain position and allow the help defense to react. If not then he just gets bullied and dunked on like Shaq vs Dudley.
 
#9
I think he's a pretty clear 5. On offence he is better near the rim or the high post and is paired well with players who can space the floor, attack close outs, move without the ball, and utilise his strong screens. On defence he is physical, pretty mobile for his size, and a good rebounder, but isn't a strong rim protector or quick enough to play further out on the perimeter. Unless he is paired with a good weak side rim protector, he should probably be paired with a physical, disruptive wing and support crew who can minimise positioning mistakes. I don't think he should be paired with a rim protector 5 like Gobert/ Turner (again) who would force him to guard quicker players further out on the perimeter.

Think Keegan fits the bill on offence pretty well but probably isn't going to have strong enough a defensive impact alone so still need someone there.

Only my thoughts. Happy for others to disagree.
 
#10
I think the best Sabonis ever played was being a 6th man for Indiana as a 5, the Kings need to find a 4 man who pairs well with him but I think he can play both 4/5 offensively.
He sure plays well next to Valancuinas (sp).
Lithuania has sucked with those two playing together despite having talented teams I don't think they pair well at all.

I also would not be opposed to trading him if the Kings can get a Gobert type haul or even a good player who fits better in return. Some elite teams could really use him since their windows are closing I wonder if Miami would do like a Sabonis/Barnes/Holmes for Bam/Robinson/filler. I would really like to do a 3 way deal where the Kings get Lauri and Sabonis goes to a playoff team and Jazz get assets to resurrect the tank.
 
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#11
I think he's a pretty clear 5. On offence he is better near the rim or the high post and is paired well with players who can space the floor, attack close outs, move without the ball, and utilise his strong screens. On defence he is physical, pretty mobile for his size, and a good rebounder, but isn't a strong rim protector or quick enough to play further out on the perimeter. Unless he is paired with a good weak side rim protector, he should probably be paired with a physical, disruptive wing and support crew who can minimise positioning mistakes. I don't think he should be paired with a rim protector 5 like Gobert/ Turner (again) who would force him to guard quicker players further out on the perimeter.

Think Keegan fits the bill on offence pretty well but probably isn't going to have strong enough a defensive impact alone so still need someone there.

Only my thoughts. Happy for others to disagree.
I agree. He's a 5.

This team needs an additional offensive and defensive connector on the floor with Domas. At a minimum two, preferably three or more. If I were Monte, I'd find a way to nab one of those Pelican two way wings, who are buried behind Ingram, Jones, and Zion. Daniels has been buried, but looks Doug Christie 2.0ish when he plays. Trey Murphy was buried last year, but is getting some time and producing this year. They need more three point shooting (% is okay, but volume is low). Monk, Barnes, some future compensation for either Daniels or Murphy.
 
#12
It depends on the matchups and also whos playing PF or C next to him..

Generally speaking though, it's gotta be PF...

While he's got all his left handed trickery and skill advantage vs most of the starting C's the tradeback is he also has a 6'11" Wingspan so he's not really suited to defend and bang on the boards with the true C's.


also i think its less than ideal that Sabonis backup C is also about the same height and wingspan.
 
#13
He's already on the slower side for a C. If you have him guarding PFs, you're just exacerbating the issue.

He's a C that requires a unique, rare player at PF to maximize a team's potential. And I’d argue you’d want a specific type of player at SF that’s even harder to find to really maximize a team with Sabonis on it.

Ideally you have a SF and a PF that…
  • Can defend SFs and PFs very well
  • Can protect the rim/be a weak side shot blocker
  • Is a versatile defender
  • Has good length
  • Is a good shooter from 3 and can knock them down off screens, pin downs, handoffs, etc.

From what I’ve seen so far, Murray may have the potential to be this type of player at SF (which is pretty hard to find). Barnes at PF…
  • Isn’t particularly good at guarding SFs or PFs (average at best)
  • Doesn’t offer any rim protection (0.2 BPG per 36 min for his career)
  • Doesn’t have good length (only 8’6” standing reach which is good for a SG)
  • And now is not even providing the floor spacing we need from that position

If we replace Barnes with a PF who checks off the boxes above, we’ve done one hell of a job maximizing a roster with Sabonis on it.

I’ve been pretty vocal about PJ Washington being an excellent fit. And on top of the fit, his age matches the core too. Charlotte failed to agree on an extension so he’ll become a RFA this off-season and we should have enough cap space to offer a deal that may make Charlotte think twice about matching.

Lastly, it doesn’t help that our backup C is not a big and long C who is a great rim protector. I think it would help a lot swapping Holmes for someone who fits that prototype. That would be a starting SF and PF who can help with rim protection and a backup C who helps with rim protection. At that point, you’ve surrounded him with rim protection to help mitigate this weakness of his.
 
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#14
It depends on the matchups and also whos playing PF or C next to him..

Generally speaking though, it's gotta be PF...

While he's got all his left handed trickery and skill advantage vs most of the starting C's the tradeback is he also has a 6'11" Wingspan so he's not really suited to defend and bang on the boards with the true C's.


also i think its less than ideal that Sabonis backup C is also about the same height and wingspan.
except he can shoot a 3 to save his life. Not sure he is ideal at either position.
 
#15
He sure plays well next to Valancuinas (sp).
Total nonsense, if you watched even 1 national team game....

Sabonis and Turner were a pretty good pair. When they were on the floor together they were an elite defensive pair.
Again wrong statement... Sabonis is best when he plays PNR and for that he needs spacing. If Turner or any other center is standing near bucket, then Sabonis can not play at his best. Indiana tried "2 tower" system for a few years, but it didnt work and finaly they have abandoned it when made Sabonis trade.

Sabonis is best at C position - give space and make players cut, you will see difference. Currently I think Kings coach didn't find real usage of Sabonis and that's why he struggles.
 
#16
He's already on the slower side for a C. If you have him guarding PFs, you're just exacerbating the issue.

He's a C that requires a unique, rare player at PF to maximize a team's potential. And I’d argue you’d want a specific type of player at SF that’s even harder to find to really maximize a team with Sabonis on it.

Ideally you have a SF and a PF that…
  • Can defend SFs and PFs very well
  • Can protect the rim/be a weak side shot blocker
  • Is a versatile defender
  • Has good length
  • Is a good shooter from 3 and can knock them down off screens, pin downs, handoffs, etc.

From what I’ve seen so far, Murray may have the potential to be this type of player at SF (which is pretty hard to find). Barnes at PF…
  • Isn’t particularly good at guarding SFs or PFs (average at best)
  • Doesn’t offer any rim protection (0.2 BPG per 36 min for his career)
  • Doesn’t have good length (only 8’6” standing reach which is good for a SG)
  • And now is not even providing the floor spacing we need from that position

If we replace Barnes with a PF who checks off the boxes above, we’ve done one hell of a job maximizing a roster with Sabonis on it.

I’ve been pretty vocal about PJ Washington being an excellent fit. And on top of the fit, his age matches the core too. Charlotte failed to agree on an extension so he’ll become a RFA this off-season and we should have enough cap space to offer a deal that may make Charlotte think twice about matching.

Lastly, it doesn’t help that our backup C is not a big and long C who is a great rim protector. I think it would help a lot swapping Holmes for someone who fits that prototype. That would be a starting SF and PF who can help with rim protection and a backup C who helps with rim protection. At that point, you’ve surrounded him with rim protection to help mitigate this weakness of his.
Cam Johnson, Grant Williams, PJ Washington. Throw the bag at any of them, all should work perfectly next to Murray/Sabonis in the front-court.

The nice thing is Barnes recent play makes it real easy to just let him walk. We'll see if it turns around, but my strong lean this off-season was to target one of these 3/4 RFA players (Clarke too before the extension) to pair a younger/better fit piece around the core.
 
#17
I agree that Sabonis is a 5. But - if there was a nimble 5 that provided rim protection and spacing - he could work as a 4. I think a healthy Pornzingis or Bubble AD would fit the Bill. But it should be much easier to find a 3/4 that compliments Sabonis - and Keegan gives the Kings a ton a flexibility in that he compliments everybody.
 
#18
Cam Johnson, Grant Williams, PJ Washington. Throw the bag at any of them, all should work perfectly next to Murray/Sabonis in the front-court.

The nice thing is Barnes recent play makes it real easy to just let him walk. We'll see if it turns around, but my strong lean this off-season was to target one of these 3/4 RFA players (Clarke too before the extension) to pair a younger/better fit piece around the core.
Not that those are bad players but they don’t quite fit the description you quoted above. Johnson doesn’t have the size/length nor the rim protection, and Williams is lacking on the length more than I’d like but perhaps you could get away with Williams at SF and Murray at PF.

I gravitate towards Washington because he seems to check everyone of those boxes. I get excited thinking about pairing Sabonis with two full sized, long forwards who can protect the rim and space the floor.

You also have to consider if BOS and PHX would really be willing to not match an offer sheet from those two guys when they likely feel they are title contenders. Meanwhile Charlotte could be looking at a hard reset around Ball and a 25 year old Washington on a big contract may not be that attractive to them.

Now having said that, if Murray does show us he can help protect the rim, I wouldn’t be unhappy if we landed one of Johnson or Williams. I still think both are solid fits and can still be complementary to the roster, I just don’t consider them “perfect” or “near perfect” fits (if that makes sense).
 
#20
Not that those are bad players but they don’t quite fit the description you quoted above. Johnson doesn’t have the size/length nor the rim protection, and Williams is lacking on the length more than I’d like but perhaps you could get away with Williams at SF and Murray at PF.

I gravitate towards Washington because he seems to check everyone of those boxes. I get excited thinking about pairing Sabonis with two full sized, long forwards who can protect the rim and space the floor.

You also have to consider if BOS and PHX would really be willing to not match an offer sheet from those two guys when they likely feel they are title contenders. Meanwhile Charlotte could be looking at a hard reset around Ball and a 25 year old Washington on a big contract may not be that attractive to them.

Now having said that, if Murray does show us he can help protect the rim, I wouldn’t be unhappy if we landed one of Johnson or Williams. I still think both are solid fits and can still be complementary to the roster, I just don’t consider them “perfect” or “near perfect” fits (if that makes sense).
I need to watch more Cam Johnson defense, but I do know Grant Williams is an elite defender that's looking like he's figured out how to be a great spacer on offense too. and 6'6 with the 6'11 wingspan is still excellent for what you want out of the 3/4 position, especially with his rare ability to switch onto basically anyone. PJ doesn't have near the same wing flexibility as Cam or Grant, although him being a true 4/5 flex is still valuable in itself with his spacing and I do agree he's probably the best rim protector of the 3. But I'd take Cam or Grant pretty easily in other facets of defense.

I think Grant is absolutely getable this off-season. The Celtics have long-term commitments already made to Tatum, Brogdon, Smart, White and Bob Williams while Jaylen Brown is do for a max extension after next season. So would they really shell 15+Mil to a guy in Grant Williams where there's no room for him to be a starter? Not sure.

Same deal with PHX. Maybe the new ownership will be willing to spend money, but Long-term commitments to Booker, Ayton, CP3, Bridges and they're still on the hook for Shamet next season. They'll still have to fill out the rest of their team too, because basically everyone else is a UFA next season. So will they add a 18+mil contract to that pile? Maybe.
 
#21
I need to watch more Cam Johnson defense, but I do know Grant Williams is an elite defender that's looking like he's figured out how to be a great spacer on offense too. and 6'6 with the 6'11 wingspan is still excellent for what you want out of the 3/4 position, especially with his rare ability to switch onto basically anyone. PJ doesn't have near the same wing flexibility as Cam or Grant, although him being a true 4/5 flex is still valuable in itself with his spacing and I do agree he's probably the best rim protector of the 3. But I'd take Cam or Grant pretty easily in other facets of defense.

I think Grant is absolutely getable this off-season. The Celtics have long-term commitments already made to Tatum, Brogdon, Smart, White and Bob Williams while Jaylen Brown is do for a max extension after next season. So would they really shell 15+Mil to a guy in Grant Williams where there's no room for him to be a starter? Not sure.

Same deal with PHX. Maybe the new ownership will be willing to spend money, but Long-term commitments to Booker, Ayton, CP3, Bridges and they're still on the hook for Shamet next season. They'll still have to fill out the rest of their team too, because basically everyone else is a UFA next season. So will they add a 18+mil contract to that pile? Maybe.
I see different measurements from the combine:

Johnson: 205 lbs / 6’7” w/o shoes / 6’10” wingspan / 8’7” standing reach
Williams: 240 lbs / 6’5.75” w/o shoes / 6’9.75” wingspan / 8’8.5” standing reach
Washington: 230 lbs / 6’6.5” w/o shoes / 7’2.25” wingspan / 8’10.5” standing reach

I don't consider Johnson or Williams to have good length for the PF position. That's not to say they can't get by at PF, but when you're C already has sub-par length, I ideally want a PF who's solid in that area. Again, I'd be happy to steal any of those 3 players from their teams. I'm just being nitpicky/greedy with my choice.

Yeah, I understand their contract situations, I just find a hard time seeing them let them go when they are championship discussions. Gives me a OKC/Harden vibe (but obviously not as severe).
 
#22
Total nonsense, if you watched even 1 national team game....


Again wrong statement... Sabonis is best when he plays PNR and for that he needs spacing. If Turner or any other center is standing near bucket, then Sabonis can not play at his best. Indiana tried "2 tower" system for a few years, but it didnt work and finaly they have abandoned it when made Sabonis trade.

Sabonis is best at C position - give space and make players cut, you will see difference. Currently I think Kings coach didn't find real usage of Sabonis and that's why he struggles.
I don’t get what you’re saying. I never said Sabonis should play the 4, he is best at the 5, but Turner and Sabonis were both centers and when played together were one of the top defensive duos. They weren’t the problem with the Pacers. It was the huge under performance of the wings, and lack of any kind of depth that hurt them.
 
#24
I see different measurements from the combine:

Johnson: 205 lbs / 6’7” w/o shoes / 6’10” wingspan / 8’7” standing reach
Williams: 240 lbs / 6’5.75” w/o shoes / 6’9.75” wingspan / 8’8.5” standing reach
Washington: 230 lbs / 6’6.5” w/o shoes / 7’2.25” wingspan / 8’10.5” standing reach

I don't consider Johnson or Williams to have good length for the PF position. That's not to say they can't get by at PF, but when you're C already has sub-par length, I ideally want a PF who's solid in that area. Again, I'd be happy to steal any of those 3 players from their teams. I'm just being nitpicky/greedy with my choice.

Yeah, I understand their contract situations, I just find a hard time seeing them let them go when they are championship discussions. Gives me a OKC/Harden vibe (but obviously not as severe).
I need to watch more Cam Johnson defense, but I do know Grant Williams is an elite defender that's looking like he's figured out how to be a great spacer on offense too. and 6'6 with the 6'11 wingspan is still excellent for what you want out of the 3/4 position, especially with his rare ability to switch onto basically anyone. PJ doesn't have near the same wing flexibility as Cam or Grant, although him being a true 4/5 flex is still valuable in itself with his spacing and I do agree he's probably the best rim protector of the 3. But I'd take Cam or Grant pretty easily in other facets of defense.

I think Grant is absolutely getable this off-season. The Celtics have long-term commitments already made to Tatum, Brogdon, Smart, White and Bob Williams while Jaylen Brown is do for a max extension after next season. So would they really shell 15+Mil to a guy in Grant Williams where there's no room for him to be a starter? Not sure.

Same deal with PHX. Maybe the new ownership will be willing to spend money, but Long-term commitments to Booker, Ayton, CP3, Bridges and they're still on the hook for Shamet next season. They'll still have to fill out the rest of their team too, because basically everyone else is a UFA next season. So will they add a 18+mil contract to that pile? Maybe.
At this point, why not think about signing one of Gary Trent/Cam Johnson and PJ Washington/Grant Williams and roll out a starting 5 of…

PG - Fox
SG - Trent/Johnson
SF - Murray
PF - Williams/Washington
C - Sabonis

If we clear Monk and Holmes for expirings, I think we’d have around $40 mil in cap space and could go into next season with…

PG - Fox / Mitchell / Ellis
SG - Johnson / Huerter
SF - Murray / Moneke
PF - Washington / Okpala
C - Sabonis / Queta
Picks - 2023 SAC 1st / 2023 IND 2nd / 2023 SAC 2nd

Gives us a better defense in the starting unit with Trent/Johnson-Murray-Williams/Washington at SG, SF, and PF while allowing Mitchell, Huerter, 2023 SAC 1st, and a MLE to run the bench mob. Huerter would most certainly give us some consistent production off the bench.

The only question is if $40 mil in cap space is enough to snag two of those guys. I’m leaning towards it not being enough.
 
#25
Kings defensive rating is again down near the worst in the league. Sadly I don’t think the issue is the coach. It’s more the players are just poor defenders and that starts with Sabonis. We shall see if it improves over the next 4 games.
 
#26
Kings defensive rating is again down near the worst in the league. Sadly I don’t think the issue is the coach. It’s more the players are just poor defenders and that starts with Sabonis. We shall see if it improves over the next 4 games.
I remember being one of the few that was fairly critical of the Huerter and Monk acquisitions at the time. Not because they aren’t good players in a vacuum (they are) but that they’re not particularly good defensive players. Add Fox, Barnes, & Sabonis to that equation and you have a lot of below average defenders that will be taking up the majority of the minutes.

We’ve been a bottom 10 defensive team for the past 16 years (with the exception of 1 season where we were like bottom 11 or something) and we have missed the playoffs every one of those seasons. Last time we were an average defensive team, we made the playoffs yet we continue to put out below average defenders year after year and expect things to change.

If the plan is to build around Fox and Sabonis, it’s really important to have strong defenders 2-4 who can also space the floor and ideally your 3 & 4 can help protect the rim since Sabonis struggles in that department at C.

I like the idea of having a bench of Mitchell, Huerter, and a long, rim protecting, defensive C since Mitchell and the defensive C will help make sure not all of our PG and C minutes are below average defensive minutes, and Huerter’s passing, shooting, and scoring would be a consistent contribution. I see the roster construction as follows…

PG - Fox / Mitchell
SG - ??? (3&D SG) / Huerter
SF - Murray / Huerter
PF - ??? (3&D, rim protecting PF) / ??? (3&D PF)
C - Sabonis / ??? (Long, rim protecting C)

We need to give Brown some players that can actually make this at least an average defensive team.
 
#28
I remember being one of the few that was fairly critical of the Huerter and Monk acquisitions at the time. Not because they aren’t good players in a vacuum (they are) but that they’re not particularly good defensive players. Add Fox, Barnes, & Sabonis to that equation and you have a lot of below average defenders that will be taking up the majority of the minutes.

We’ve been a bottom 10 defensive team for the past 16 years (with the exception of 1 season where we were like bottom 11 or something) and we have missed the playoffs every one of those seasons. Last time we were an average defensive team, we made the playoffs yet we continue to put out below average defenders year after year and expect things to change.

If the plan is to build around Fox and Sabonis, it’s really important to have strong defenders 2-4 who can also space the floor and ideally your 3 & 4 can help protect the rim since Sabonis struggles in that department at C.

I like the idea of having a bench of Mitchell, Huerter, and a long, rim protecting, defensive C since Mitchell and the defensive C will help make sure not all of our PG and C minutes are below average defensive minutes, and Huerter’s passing, shooting, and scoring would be a consistent contribution. I see the roster construction as follows…

PG - Fox / Mitchell
SG - ??? (3&D SG) / Huerter
SF - Murray / Huerter
PF - ??? (3&D, rim protecting PF) / ??? (3&D PF)
C - Sabonis / ??? (Long, rim protecting C)

We need to give Brown some players that can actually make this at least an average defensive team.

The long, rim protecting C you're looking for is at the end of the bench....

 

Kingster

Hall of Famer
#29
I like Sabonis at the 5, but he needs more help. He needs a big center that can sub for him to bang some on these big starting centers (if Len can't cut it, then someone else of his stature) so that he doesn't get ground down over the course of the season. He also needs a longer wing who can provide some length coming from the weak side to help. I'm optimistic about Murray being a nice weak-side defender, but it's really asking too much right now to think that he's going to make a great impact on defense. He's proven to a good one-on-one defender, but we need an improving Murray plus another long defender. (Grant would have been nice, wouldn't he?).

The above is why in the offseason I was hoping for a trade of Holmes, who is too small, why I didn't like losing Damian Jones, who did provide defense and shot blocking, and why I think longer term Harrison Barnes is not the best fit defensively for this team. By the way, if the Kings could make a deal with the Lakers to get Jones back for a minimal price, I'd do it in a heartbeat. He did fit nicely with Sabonis. He could even spread the floor some with his outside shooting. He also was one of the more improved players on the Kings. It's a head-shaker why they let him go.