Trading for Sabonis and LeVert could immediately elevate the San Antonio Spurs back to playoff contention
As fans of the Spurs, we're all quite accustomed to seeing the team contend for championships, or at least make the playoffs. Their legendary run of playoff appearances that stretched for the majority of my life has made their current struggles as uncomfortable as they are unfamiliar. Trading for these two Pacers would immediately push them back into the top eight in the Western Conference.
Let's start with Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis has been a target of Spurs fans for quite some time now and for good reason. The two-time All-Star has been one of the better big men in the league for a while and his two-way versatility would mesh well with the young Spurs who would remain on the roster following the completion of this deal.
A proficient roll-man, it's easy to envision Sabonis being just as lethal in the pick and roll with Dejounte Murray as he has been with Malcolm Brogdon and LeVert. Far from a one-trick pony, Sabonis is also one of the most efficient post scorers in the NBA today.
He's seen his post-up touches be nearly cut in half from last season — down from 4.2 per game last season to 2.7 this season — but has improved his efficiency, averaging a very respectable 0.89 points per post-up, better than stars such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Deandre Ayton, and Bam Adebayo.
Another hidden gem of Sabonis's game is his affinity for grabbing offensive rebounds and turning them into easy points. He ranks 3rd in the NBA in putbacks and 9th in offensive rebounds, traits that would benefit the Spurs immensely.
He doesn't need to score to have an impact either. His passing and defense are just as respectable. He's not on Nikola Jokic's level as a passer but he's got the size to see over defenders, the vision to see opportunities before they're there, and the chutzpah to dish out the kind of bold passes that would make a team averaging the 4th most cuts in the league much more dangerous.
LeVert is no slouch either. He's instant offense, capable of going for 50 and a shoo-in to give you a smooth 20 a night as he did last season. His 3-point shooting does leave something to be desired but he's still a strong offensive option who would fit well in a backcourt with Dejounte Murray and Devin Vassell.
While he is more of a scorer than a facilitator, it's not as if LeVert lacks a playmaking gene altogether. He's averaging about three assists per game this season, down from five per outing last year, but that can be at least partially attributed to the rise of players such as Chris Duarte.
To be fair, he's not Derrick White's level as a playmaker but the continued improvement of Tre Jones and eventual ascension of Josh Primo could make the end impact of LeVert's impact on San Antonio's offense a net positive.
I'm not going to pretend that Dario Saric and a 2nd round pick have a strong impact on whether the Spurs should take this deal or not. Saric is a fine player, but he's still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the NBA Finals last season and may not even play this season. He's purely here for salary reasons, although he could have some value next season as an expiring contract that the Spurs could flip.
Altogether, this deal would go a long way to accelerating the Spurs' rebuild. If they pounce quickly, they could still make the playoffs, though the fruits of this deal would be more visible after the new roster has a full season to gel. The Spurs would still be an elite player away from title contention, but they'd be in a much better position than they are today.