One of the best parts of being a Gonzaga basketball fan is getting the opportunity to see our Zags go on to play professionally after they finish their collegiate careers. While the majority of them end up playing overseas, we have seen our fair share of Zags in the NBA.
Tonight at 4:00 PM two of those NBA Zags will square off against each other, as Domantas Sabonis and the Indiana Pacers will square off against Zach Collins and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Collins will be making his NBA debut after sitting out the Blazers season opener on Wednesday with flu-like symptoms. The Blazers hardly needed him, cruising to a 124-76 victory -the largest opening day margin of victory in NBA history. Collins, the first one-and-done in Gonzaga history, was drafted 10th overall by the Sacramento Kings and immediately shipped to the Blazers. He is expected to serve as the primary backup C to starter Jusuf Nurkic.
While we are on the topic of Blazers centers, Portland-area Zagswon’t be the only Oregonians rooting for Domantas Sabonistonight. Sabonis is the son of former Trail Blazer ArvydasSabonis, who played for the Blazers for seven seasons and averaged 12 points and 7.3 rebounds. While the younger Sabonis may have a ways to go to leave the legacy his dad did, he had himself a solid rookie season in Oklahoma City. Playing as one of the four guys on the court not named Russell Westbrook, Sabonis averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 81 games (66 starts) last year. He spent most of his time behind the three-point line, taking 159 threes in his first season and making 51 of them, good for 32%.
While his rookie season was a solid start, the Thunder opted to ship Sabonis and Victor Oladipo to Indiana in exchange for Paul George. While Sabonis was primarily thought of as a “throw-in”, his first game with the Pacers proved otherwise. Sabonishad 16 points and seven rebounds on 7-7 shooting from the field and 2-3 from the line. Sabonis will likely serve as a backup to Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner this season, but has the potential to be a big piece for the Pacers going forward.
For Zag fans who love watching our players play at the next level, tonight’s game is a must-watch. Collins and Sabonis will both be coming off the bench but each can be expected to play 15-20 minutes, and should get some time squaring off against each other down low.