Empty Calories? Does Sabonis' double-double streak really help the Sacramento Kings?

Domantas Sabonis (pictured) versus Toronto Raptors
Domantas Sabonis (pictured) versus Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The longest double-double streak since the ABA-NBA merger belonged to Kevin Love (2010–11). Until late into the 2023–24 season, when Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis passed Love's 53-game consecutive double-double streak and is still counting on that mark.

When Love achieved the feat, he was on the NBA's worst team, the 17-65 Minnesota Timberwolves. Sabonis, at over 54 and counting, is on a team chasing playoff positioning in a tightly contested Western Conference.

Sabonis often receives criticism for his play and whether it is truly "impactful.". On a team where he's regarded as a franchise cornerstone—a building block for the future that head coach Mike Brown runs his offense through, this is the biggest misconception about Sabonis.

What makes Sabonis great is his vision as a passer, combined with his efficiency around the rim, improved three-point shooting, and, most importantly, his impact on— the Kings offense.

Sabonis' impact and playmaking is known amongst the players

Arguably the game of basketball's greatest mind ever, LeBron James discusses with podcast host, ESPN analyst, and former NBA JJ Redick about Sabonis' importance to Sacramento's offense. Sabonis is needed in this Kings offense because of his ability to make the right decisions in their halfcourt offense, both in primary, secondary, and even tertiary actions. Even with that, Sabonis has shown an ability to be a playmaking asset in transition on the fastbreak, handling the ball.

When it comes to Sabonis' impact, he is important for the Kings in the interior with the rim protection he does offer (albeit suspect at times, but improving) and his dominance controlling both the offensive and defensive rebounding aspects of the game.

Second possessions are important to every NBA team, but Sabonis limits the opposition's ability to get second chance points while increasing his team's second-chance points himself.

Team elevator: Sacramento is far better with Sabonis than without him

Whether he's considered a ceiling raiser or floor raiser is still to be determined, but Sabonis has proven his ability to improve a team's chances of winning, with the impact being felt almost immediately when he stepped foot in Sacramento.

The Kings success would not be possible without Sabonis and his offensive versatility. The surrounding personnel on the roster are crucial to his success as a player, but that has also led to a revival in Sacramento's franchise from NBA purgatory.

While the Kings future was promising with the backcourt duo of De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, (with Davion Mitchell still starting at the time), the fit between Fox and Haliburton was always going to be questionable, with both players primarily needing the ball to be most successful in their careers.

Trading for the Sabonis was not only the right move for the Kings in the short term but also in the long term. He has helped stabilize Sacramento for competitive, playoff seasons with a loyal fanbase fully supporting the team and its future. Sabonis is arguably the most underrated player in the entire NBA, which has become evident with his gaudy numbers and impact on winning for Sacramento.