Indiana went 45-28 that season, and although it got swept by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs, it had relatively high hopes for the immediate future.
But it didn’t pan out, as Warren missed most of the last two seasons with a foot injury and Brogdon has had his own injury woes.
As a result, the Pacers failed to make the playoffs in both seasons.
A few months ago, they radically overhauled the roster, sending out Sabonis in a big trade with the Sacramento Kings that brought back sharpshooter Buddy Hield and rising guard Tyrese Haliburton.
It is believed that the team wants to build around Haliburton and is looking to rid itself of the contracts of Brogdon and Hield this summer.
But should it have kept Sabonis instead?
Sabonis Is One Of The Best Players No One Talks About
The son of former NBA player and European star Arvydas Sabonis, Domantas Sabonis has emerged as a borderline star in the last few seasons.
After being selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he took a little while to emerge, but in 2020, he had 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while being named to the All-Star Game for the first time.
The next season, he boosted those numbers to 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game, and he got another All-Star nod as a result.
At 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, he can play either the power forward or center position, and he is a highly efficient player as evidenced by his 53.4 percent accuracy from the field for his career.
Sabonis has a nice skill-set offensively, as he can post up effectively, as well as put the ball on the floor and get his own shot one-on-one.
Your Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Domantas Sabonis 🔥
24.3 points per game
11 rebounds per game
7 assists per game
1 game-winner pic.twitter.com/xm90TDK8VA
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 28, 2020
Was Haliburton Worth Giving Up Sabonis?
Haliburton, the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, put up 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game in 26 contests with the Pacers this year, and, like Sabonis, he is a very efficient player.
He shot 50.2 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from 3-point range during his time so far in Indiana, and he also appears to have some defensive potential.
Oh. My. God. Tyrese Haliburton swatted the hell outta this attempt from Marvin Bagley. pic.twitter.com/ZJcsqJJNwd
— Brenden Nunes (@BrendenNunesNBA) March 5, 2022
One of Sabonis’ downsides is that he is a poor 3-point shooter.
For his career, he has made just 31.9 percent of his shot attempts from beyond the arc.
In addition, although he may not be a bad defensive player, Sabonis also isn’t a stopper either.
The key will be how much better Haliburton becomes, especially as a scorer.
Will he be content with being a setup guy and a nice third option on a championship-caliber team, or will he become more of a volume scorer while maintaining his efficiency?
If the Pacers will go ahead and jettison Hield and/or Brogdon, they will need to get assets in return that will allow them to build a viable and potential-laden squad.
Otherwise, they may live to regret letting go of Sabonis.