The Indiana Pacers have an All-Star caliber player on their roster this season in Domantas Sabonis, who is on the cusp of his first All-Star selection.
The first round of fan voting (which accounts for 50 percent of the total votes) landed him in the top 10 of the Eastern Conference’s frontcourt with 239,639 total votes. After the third round of fan voting, Sabonis earned an additional 140,000 votes to bring his total to 381,390 votes.
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It’s worth mentioning the All-Star Game has turned into a popularity contest more than anything and stats aren’t necessarily required anymore to be an All-Star.
For example, Tacko Fall (Boston Celtics) is on a two-way contract this season, while Alex Caruso (Los Angeles Lakers) is a bench player. Both have earned enough votes to land them a spot in the top ten in their respective positional categories. Being an All-Star should require more than just the popularity of the larger market teams.
Sabonis could arguably be one of the most improved players in the league this season, which should warrant All-Star status. The big man can drive to the hoop with a guard’s mentality by using his excellent ball-handling skills and decision making. His understanding of how a play develops is elite and it helps him excel, in and out, of the pick-and-roll and thrive in the paint.
The Gonzaga product has definitely emerged as one of the best big men in the NBA. After sliding into the starting lineup this season, he has averaged a double-double for the season with 17.8 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
Sabonis has been the MVP of the Indiana Pacers. His presence on the court takes some of the load off the shoulders of Myles Turner, which allows Turner to play more freely. Sabonis shows his versatility as a player by his tremendous skills and awareness in the paint, and can also overcome the double and sometimes triple team from the defense.
If you take a look at the list of the top 10 players voted in the Eastern Conference’s frontcourt, Sabonis is arguably having a better all-around year than some of the players listed above him (yes, even more so than just Gordon Hayward and Tacko Fall).
Through his durability and consistency this season, Sabonis has shown he can lead the way for his team. Although Sabonis has yet to make get All-Star nod in his previous three seasons, he told Scott Agness of The Athletic what it would mean for him to earn the chance to be an All-Star.
Without the efforts from Sabonis, the Indiana Pacers wouldn’t be in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and second in the Central Division. He has led the Pacers to be in a great position for the hopeful return of Victor Oladipo later this month.
He’s carried the Pacers all season long and it’s only deserving for him to be an NBA All-Star.