Arvydas Sabonis (older users)
Sabonis is easily the most intriguing player I never saw. From the highlights of before he was injured what I gathered was that he was the ultimate mixture of ruggedness, skill and size. He could bang down low, spot up from down town, hit a cutter right in stride for a layup.. all at 7'3 (sounds like a videogame)
I can't help but think we missed out on something incredible. Not only seeing him, but the Blazers at the time. He was drafted in 85 but couldn't come to the Blazers. Under Rick Adleman in the late 80's and early 90's the Blazers were winning around 60 games a year and were a contender. Sabonis would have been an excellent pairing with Adleman and Drexler. The player and coaching styles are a match made in heaven.
So what I'm asking is what can you tell me about him before his injuries? And maybe a little insight on if he would have came to the Blazers earlier.
The guy made the Hall Of Fame and never played his prime years in the NBA, that's how gifted and great Sabonis was. I would say he was the Euro version of Hakeem Olajuwon from the stand point of offensive skills, and probably even a better passer than Hakeem was.
I heard Arvydas Sabonis was incredible when he was younger before his injuries. It only made sense considering how good he was later in his career when he played with the Blazers.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arvydas_Sabonis) "Bill Walton once called Sabonis a 7'3" Larry Bird due to his unique court vision, shooting range, rugged in-game mentality, and versatility."
Find some old video of him against team USA where he dominated David Robinson. Incredible athlete, passer, and shooter, and at 7'3! Bill Walton said he's the best big man ever. I have him on my all time team with Rose, Jordan, LeBron, and Duncan. NBA missed out big time.
you've got rose as your all time PG? seriously? Ahead of Magic???
Sabonis was a huge legend in the USSR, that's probably part of why he wasn't let to play in the NBA. Not many people actually cared for basketball in Russia, but everybody knew and still know Sabonis, he might've been the most well known sportsman in USSR history.
Considering how good sport was in the USSR that's a huge achievement.
I didnt see the younger Sabonis, but I did see him for some years in the NBA. He was one of my favorite players because he was always a threat. For one, he was huge! He didnt look like he should be able to do the stuff he did. He wasn't an athletic freak of nature or anything but he had to total skillset, as far as shooting, passing, and scoring on the blocks. He loved the behind the back bounce pass when a teammate was cutting.
People are comparing Marc Gasol to Sabonis. Only saw the older Sabonis on the Trailblazers. If a prime Sabonis was a better version of Marc Gasol with even more size then he must have been something else.
Sabonis was a great passer and he had great range on his shot, too. I hear that Marc Gasol is the Grizzlies' best 3 point shooter in practice. Well, that's what "my sources" told me...
Clyde, Porter, Sabonis, Buck Williams, and Jerome Kersey? Wow. They would have gotten at least a ring or two.
You can't take anything for granted these days. Just look at OKC. Last year they were young, explosive, and the future BEAST of the league. Then they had to trade Harden, and now Westbrook is out. You can't lose two huge guys like that an expect to win it all.
I thought that this year's finals would be like a replay of 1992 where Jordan is in full-on prime beast mode and wins back to back titles over Clyde Drexler's Blazers squad. Now, with Westbrook down, the Thunder are missing that second guy. I think the Thunder without Westbrook are built like that Blazers team. The second best wing in the league (Durant) with some size and athleticism inside, and some shooters with solid depth. BUT they lack that ideal second option. Jordan had Pippen. LeBron has Wade. And, now Durant doesn't even have Westbrook -- who might not have even been the ideal second option to begin with.
Sabonis was awesome. I mean even 30 year old injured sabonis was a top 10 center in the NBA, and i qatched his whole nba career. Watching his film of him moving around when he was younger, I have no doubt he would have been a top 10 player in the NBA and possibly top 3. He could have been dominant. Best passing big man ever and that's not hyperbole, he was the real deal. I think it's easy to overrate guys in hindsite and remember all the good things, for example I think drazen petrovic is very overrated on this site, but I don't think that's the case at all with saboonis, he could have been elite in the NBA.
The problem with the myth of Sabonis was that his injuries started very early. His physical peak came and went before his prime, like some time in his early 20s. He was still an amazing player. Huge, amazing athlete before the injuries (was a 7'2 guy who could do FT line dunks), huge soft hands, incredible strength, shooting touch with range out to the 3 pt line, amazing basketball mind, post moves (had sweeping hooks, turnaround Js, scoop shots from the post), one of the best post passers ever, etc. He was one of the greatest specimens ever. He accomplished plenty, but a lot of his physical gifts were robbed of him too early.
Sabonis had his best seasons during that 18-26 age range and fell off after that because the Soviets did not allow him proper rest when minor injuries popped up. They pushed him instead of resting him essentially derailing his career because he was their best athlete. Combine that with "Cold War" conflict and it was more valuable to run Sabonis into the ground competing against the USA and other countries rather than manage his immense talent properly. The Soviet Union/Russian athletic federartion essentially ruined him and Sabonis himself stands firmly behind that notion.
I am a younger user and have just found out about this guy, and he sounds incredible. They should make a 30 for 30 on him or something
A 30 for 30 on him would be awesome. I only saw him in his older days on Portland, but according to his Wikipedia page (for whatever that's worth) it sounds like the Soviet national team overused him and never really gave him the proper amount of time to come back from injuries.
His rookie year stats per 36min.: 21.9ppg. 12.2rpg. 2.7apg.
Unfortunately his body was declining year after year.
Yeah he was a shell of himself. He was an overweight 31 yearold that was robbed by injury and still managed that. That tells me he had a very unique understanding of the game.
He also averaged 23 and 10 in his first playoff series
that man is hero in our country..
I promise you he was something special..
The things I always think are relevant about Sabonis are that he had injury issues and was nearly 31 when he came to the NBA. But he still put up decent NBA stats and he was a career 12ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks and this was achieved only playing 24.2mpg, if he had played 30 to 35 mpg then the stats would have even later in his career have been near All Star level. There is the issue of course was he perhaps only able to play those minutes due to the wear and tear on him.
It was always a great pity he had not come to the NBA a few years earlier as then a lot of casual NBA fans would have realised what a lot of more knowledgeable fans already know, he was one of the greatest big men ever. How many 7ft 3ins guys had Sabonis' 3 point range.
It would have been great to have seen him going against Hakeem, Robinson, Ewing, Shaq and co at his peak.
He smoked cigarettes a long time... being Russian it's probable that he drank his share of vodka too.
He's already had serious health issues and ebay already reflects it with high prices on his autographs etc. so if anybody here is a collector they had better get his autograph soon because it will only be going up in price.
Sabonis is Lithuanian, not Russian. He played for Soviet's because Lithuania was part of Soviet union before they become independet state
And Lithuanian are more known for drinking beer