As basketball draws ever closer, we continue our player refreshers with Boban Marjanovic. He’s been a fixture among the newly-bubbled NBA Twitter scene, as would be expected. Already, he’s starred in a Disney intro reenactment (in a video that should earn Luka Doncic his first directorial credit on IMDB), had a distanced reunion with former BFF Tobias Harris, and helped Luka reach new heights with a dunk assist in their one-on-one match during practice.
Fantastic stuff. But let’s delve in to what we might be expecting from the big man once play resumes.
Where were they before the break?
Before the season was suspended, Boban, in his first season wearing a Mavericks’ jersey, was doing all of the things you want and expect from Boban. He’s still shooting over 55 percent from the field, his offensive rating is as high as it’s ever been at 117.6, he grabs boards, he is very large.
Boban has always been a highly situational player, and whether or not he played on any given night was subject to matchups. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that Boban can’t play 48 minutes a night trying to defend the league’s ever more athletic big men like Anthony Davis or super quick lineups like Houston has assembled.
That said, when he does play, you essentially know exactly what you’re going to get from him, and you have to consider consistency like that an asset as play resumes.
Key stat to know
15. That’s the number of 3-point shots Boban has taken this year. Prior to joining Dallas, he had taken a total of 10, all of which came last season as he split time between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers. As mentioned, Marjanovic, by and large, is exactly the same player he’s always been — which is a credit to him. He’s carved out a very nice niche as a valuable role player. So the fact that he’s adding anything at all to his already historically potent and highly efficient offensive game seems worth keeping an eye on.
Is this the blossoming of a new skill Boban is working into game shape? Apparently, while praising Boban’s on and off-court contributions, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle mentioned Boban had been continuing to work on his long distance shot. Whether it becomes an actual part of his game or remains a blowout-only crowd pleasing party trick remains to be seen. Who knows; maybe that step-back he hit against Luka in practice is foreshadowing great things to come!
Outlook for Orlando
As weird as this whole scenario is, Boban himself appears largely un-phased, telling reporters, “It’s nothing weird. So far, the situation is different, but everything else possible is the same. Teammates are the same. Basketball, nothing’s changed.”
A good sign for the continuation of Boban being Boban. Still, while playoff rotations typically get smaller, Boban’s playing time may start to become just a bit more prevalent than it had been. Of the Mavericks 67 games, Boban played in 37 of them. Again, highly match-up dependent. However, with news of Willie Cauley-Stein opting out of the Orlando restart, the Mavericks suddenly find themselves a bit short at the center position.
Kristaps Porzingis has become the team’s starting center since moving to the five full time, and Maxi Kleber is still a great back up, but with Dwight Powell still sidelined on top of the Cauley-Stein’s absence, expect to see more Boban minutes — even if it’s just four to five minute shifts to get the other guys some rest.