The reason why Sabonis is a key anchor in the Kings’ recent defensive progress is because he originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Kings are off to a historic start to the 2022-23 NBA season, posting a franchise-best 11-9 record in the first 20 games since 2004-05.
And on defense, they’re just getting started, with All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis playing a key role.
NBC Sports California Kings pre- and post-game host Morgan Ragan explained Sabonis’ defensive value.
Heading into Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento ranks 22nd in the NBA with a defensive rating of 114.0.
But in the Kings’ last five games, the team posted a 109.8 ERA, which ranks seventh in the league.
After Sacramento’s 137-114 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, coach Mike Brown said his team’s performance was “the most complete defensive game” ever. I commended them for not only taking responsibility but communicating on the floor.
Second-year pro Davion Mitchell’s on-ball defense is arguably one of the best in the league, but while it’s been a highlight of the Kings’ season so far, Sabonis’ ability to serve as a defensive anchor in midfield is just as good. important as
At 32.2 minutes per game this season, Sabonis’ defensive rating of 111.6 is Sacramento’s second best rating behind Terrence Davis (110.1, 13.3 mpg).
Sabonis’ recent effort, a nearly triple-double against the Pacers, showed how valuable he is on both sides of the floor.
Even though the 7-foot-1 forward arrived in Sacramento on a trade less than a year ago, Sabonis’ communication skills on defense have helped him build rapport with his teammates.
With that voice and physical presence, Sabonis has been able to evolve into more than just a rim-protecting and shot-blocking big shot. More than competing shots with presence alone, the 26-year-old is getting better every day with his active legs. Verticality of screen hedges and edges.
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Sabonis’ defensive foundation is solid, and he’s rounded out his prowess with one of the best defensive rebound percentages in the league.
With 8.8 defensive rebounds per game, Sabonis ranks seventh in the NBA.
As the Kings look to build a solid start to the season and end a 16-year NBA playoff drought, it’s clear Sabonis has a defensive anchor.