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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed Arvydas played very well in Europe this season and even making the all-Euroleague team!

Why did he not remain in the NBA? It is obvious he still has game left in him, and even in his final years of the NBA he was putting up very solid and EFFICIENT stats on Portland.

Did he simply want to finish his career in Europe?

Maybe having less frequent games over there is the reason he is more effective over MORE minutes?

In the Euroleages he averaged 28.15mpg and in NBA he averaged around 24.12mpg cumulatively. The last three seasons averaging 25.6, 21.3, and 15.5mpg. However he only seemed to play in 66,61, and 78 games (possibly injuries and fatigue due to age limited his affectiveness over LONG periods of NBA playing time.

I ask these questions because I like seeing how certain players do in certain leagues in hopes of understanding how good certain players really are overseas and also how the competetion is improving.

Sabonis is an interesting example, because he was a solid Center starter and substitute in the NBA in limited minutes and also 30mpg (earlier in his career).

I guess I am just suprised he was able to do well at his age int he Euroleagues. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks
 

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So much for expecting to see Sabonis doing a killer crossover. That'd be sweet. :)

He's a great player, but definately worn out, especially those knees. It's great to hear he's still able to play at a high level.
 

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He left Blazers because:

1. Unappealing Blazers. He didn't expect them to be a contender last season and didn't want to be a part of youth movement.

2. Strong Lithuanian ties. He is owner of Euroleague club Zalgiris Kaunas, which has a huge part in Lithuanian national history. During 1980s Zalgiris battles with CSKA Moscow symbolised fight for freedom for then-occupied-by-Soviets Lithuania. Zalgiris with Sabonis as it's leader won three USSR titles in dramatic fashion and many historians agree that it inspired Lithuanian folk to rebel and finally declare independence in 1990.
Sabonis financed Zalgiris team during tough economic times during 1990s and now is owner of the club. Once around 1989 he made a promise to finish his career in Zalgiris and honorably fullfilled it. He had desire to become a champion of indepentend Lithuania one day and became one last season.
Basically, Sabas loves Zalgiris as his father and child.

3. More confortable schedule. Euroleague has similiar schedule to NFL. 14 regular season games (3 groups with 8 teams each), 6 games in TOP 16 (4 groups with 4 teams in each), 2 games in Final Four and you're a champion. One game per week - that suited Sabas' weary body. He could sit out Lithuanian league games on weekends and get himself ready for Euroleague games on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

He declined invitation to Lithuanian Olympic team basically because of that. He just couldn't see himself playing 8 games in 2 weeks span.

Next season

Last Euroleague season ended in dramatic fashion - Zalgiris lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv in last TOP 16 game after overtime, wasting a 6 points lead with 15 seconds remaining in regular time. Maccabi went further and won Euroleague title. First game of this season is Zalgiris vs Maccabi in Kaunas, so maybe Sabas just wanted to get some revenge this season and decided to play for one more year. We can only encourage this decision because last season he proved he still got it.:yes:
 

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Even when Sabonis joined the NBA in 1996, his body was on the decline. His glorious years playing in Spain were behind him. He dominated other centers in the 80s (including incredible matches against David Robinson, check out the videos on this site. Yes, that's Robinson getting dunked on in the opening picture). People like Bob Knight described him in the early 80s as "like Bill Walton, but stronger." Remember, he was drafted in 1985. He was breaking backboards even after the EL and NBA started using "unbreakable" backboard structures. He didn't join the NBA until over a decade later. And still, not even the NBA's best guards could pass like him.

There are two other good Sabonis sites: Everything Sabonis and The Sabonis Network.

Anyhow, he went back to Zalgiris Kuanas, his first club in Lithuania, because he made a promise many years ago to end his career there. I don't want to psycho-analyze him, but I think he was sick and tired of a lot of the prima donna attitudes in the NBA. Teams like Dallas and Portland were offering him contracts last year, so they knew he still had it, but he turned them all down. He could still compete in the NBA, but he made a choice not to.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, very interesting video. Thanks.

I didn't know he had that kind of hops back then (although I did hear that he was GREAT before injuries).

For those who saw him back then, would you say he was on PAR with Ewing, Drob, Hakeem, Alonzo, Shaq if he came into the NBA in the early 90s HEALTHY and motivated?

His prime stats in the NBA in limited minutes 16ppf 10rpb 3apg in 32mpg with very nice .493% shooting overall. He also got to the FT line very often and converted at nearly 80%.

Anyone care to take a guess at his NBA stats if healthy and came in the early 90s?
 

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Originally posted by <b>Nikos</b>!
I didn't know he had that kind of hops back then (although I did hear that he was GREAT before injuries).
Yeah, isn't that amazing? The man could really jump. There have been very few centers in the history of the game who could jump like that.

For those who saw him back then, would you say he was on PAR with Ewing, Drob, Hakeem, Alonzo, Shaq if he came into the NBA in the early 90s HEALTHY and motivated?
I think he would have been on par with those centers, if not better. Sabonis really had everything: size, shooting, passing, defense, athleticism. It's not hard to imagine what he could have been. But the Cold War politics prevented him from coming to the NBA before his body was wearing down.

Matt
 

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Originally posted by <b>OG</b>!
So much for expecting to see Sabonis doing a killer crossover. That'd be sweet. :)
:yes:
 

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That is amazing, but you have to also consider how young David Robinson must've been in 1986. I mean he didnt join the NBA until 1989-90. He was very thin and unexperienced.
 

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Originally posted by <b>ganaconda</b>!
That is amazing, but you have to also consider how young David Robinson must've been in 1986. I mean he didnt join the NBA until 1989-90. He was very thin and unexperienced.
Young?

Yes, but younger than Sabonis by less than a year. Robinson DOB: 08-05-65. Sabonis DOB: 12-19-64. Not really a significant difference in age.

Inexperienced?

Yes, but neither of them had any NBA experience at that time. In 1986, Sabonis really hadn't had much experience in what would now be considered a big league, either.......Big games certainly, esp in relation to Lithuania, but not really big leagues.

Thin?

Yes, but thinner than Sabonis? Not much if at all. Both of them were beanpoles back then. :)
 

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I think if Sabonis came to the NBA at a young age like 20 or so he would have been considered in the same category as Wilt and Shaq as a dominate center.
He however wasn't able to come here until late in his career and then play with a different rule set than he was used to.
 

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Originally posted by <b>ChitwoodStyle</b>!
I think if Sabonis came to the NBA at a young age like 20 or so he would have been considered in the same category as Wilt and Shaq as a dominate center.
I agree with that. But even playing in Europe and in international competitions, I think he is up there among the best centers in history.

Matt
 

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injury aftermath

I agree with mvblair, Sabonis was just the most promising center ever before his knee injuries. He definately wasn't the same player after that.

In fact, the great player we all seen with Portland was half the beast he could have been.

Very tall guys are so fragile, Shaq is the best counter-example.
OK he's fat, but his body is real strong.
Let's hope Yao knees will stay clean.
 

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Re: injury aftermath

Originally posted by <b>fezqo</b>!
Sabonis was just the most promising center ever before his knee injuries...

In fact, the great player we all seen with Portland was half the beast he could have been.
:yes: And he was still brilliant.

Let's hope Yao knees will stay clean.
:yes:

Matt
 

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Originally posted by <b>trees</b>!
those videos are wicked, but the music is even better!
No, no, no.....I love the music they have on those videos, but it is not better than watching a young Sabonis on the court. :)

Originally posted by <b>brazys</b>!

2. Strong Lithuanian ties. He is owner of Euroleague club Zalgiris Kaunas, which has a huge part in Lithuanian national history. During 1980s Zalgiris battles with CSKA Moscow symbolised fight for freedom for then-occupied-by-Soviets Lithuania. Zalgiris with Sabonis as it's leader won three USSR titles in dramatic fashion and many historians agree that it inspired Lithuanian folk to rebel and finally declare independence in 1990.
Sabonis financed Zalgiris team during tough economic times during 1990s and now is owner of the club. Once around 1989 he made a promise to finish his career in Zalgiris and honorably fullfilled it. He had desire to become a champion of independent Lithuania one day and became one last season.
Basically, Sabas loves Zalgiris as his father and child.
Exquisitely and beautifully expressed, Brazys.....especially the last sentence. Thanks for posting it. :)

Sabonis JEGA!
 

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Originally posted by <b>mvblair</b>!
I agree with that. But even playing in Europe and in international competitions, I think he is up there among the best centers in history.
He surely is. What I pity is that he did not join the Blazers as soon as he could have - why did he go to Spain instead? He was 26 and had his whole career ahead of him. :no:
 

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Originally posted by <b>ChrisCrossover</b>!
He surely is. What I pity is that he did not join the Blazers as soon as he could have - why did he go to Spain instead? He was 26 and had his whole career ahead of him. :no:
That's a question that so many of us want to know...

I don't know why he didn't join Portland sooner, but I think it has to do with two things: his personal preference to be in Spain, and the political climate at the time.

I'm sure somebody can give a more definite answer...

Matt
 

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He is simply the best...
 
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