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2018-2019 Clippers Player Preview: Everyone’s Favorite Clipper, Boban Marjanovic

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In his first full season with the team, the offensive behemoth may struggle to carve out a consistent bench role, but he has already claimed a special place in our hearts.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Basic Information:

Age: 30

Years in the NBA: 3

Position: Center

Height: 7’ 3’’

Weight: 290 lbs.

Key Stats: In 19 games with the Pistons and 20 games with the Clippers last season, Boban averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.3 blocks in just 8.6 minutes per game. He shot 53.4% from the field (though that number was an improved 55.1% in a Clippers uniform) and an impressive 79.4% from the charity stripe.

Contract Status: In the final year of a 3-year, $21,000,000 contract signed initially by the Detroit Pistons in 2016. He will make $7,000,000 this year before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Expectations:

I shouldn’t have to sell you on Boban Marjanovic as one of the NBA’s biggest personalities — he does an excellent job of that without any help. But if you haven’t been following him and Tobias Harris, his partner in crime, on social media, I’ll provide you with a quick recap. In their first offseason in Los Angeles since being shipped over from the Pistons as part of the Blake Griffin trade, Boban and Tobias, more affectionately known as Bobi and Tobi, made their presence known as burgeoning entertainment icons. In addition to their usual viral hijinks, the two starred in the Bobi + Tobi show, which chronicled the “pre-preseason” and involved plenty of unorthodox training methods for the upcoming season.

Other highlights include Boban’s celebrity bus tour ride-along with Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer and this phenomenal GIF of him carrying former NBA All-Star and current Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell in the ocean like a small child.

As for his play on the court, Boban has had a productive preseason. In four games, despite averaging only 8.7 minutes per game, he has put up a respectable 10.5 points (that’s more than a point per minute for all you non-mathematicians), 5.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks while getting to the line a remarkable 4.2 times per game and converting free throws at an above-league-average clip. Preseason stats must be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but it’s clear that Marjanovic has the capacity to be a high-impact offensive player for abbreviated chunks of game time. After all, this is the most efficient scorer in NBA history that we’re talking about. He was able to showcase his impeccable touch around the rim and extraterrestrial wingspan against Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee in a recent outing against the Nuggets.

Therein lies the rub, as the flip side to the imposing physique that makes Boban such a terror to handle in the post is a lumbering body that makes it an uphill battle to impede modern NBA big men on the defensive end. By substituting in a big who can stretch the floor, opposing teams can effectively negate Boban’s offensive prowess by pulling him out to the perimeter where he has a difficult time contesting shots and playing defense in the open floor. That said, as evidenced by the video above, he has exhibited flashes of defensive competency in the preseason, moving his feet better in space and showing quicker recovery time on drives to the hoop. It’s unrealistic to expect anything close to four blocks a game during the regular season, but any defensive improvements should be a welcome sight for a Clippers coaching staff who are well aware of Boban’s gravity on the offensive end.

It remains to be seen what kind of role he will have sitting behind Marcin Gortat and Montrezl Harrell on this objectively deep Clippers team. My best guess? We’ll see him injected into the game as a disruptive offensive force when the matchup allows. He likely won’t play in every game, but as he showed down the stretch last season, he has the ability to energize his teammates and fans alike, often shifting momentum and positively affecting the game beyond what the box score can capture. One thing I do know for sure is that Bobi, larger than life both on and off the court, already sits on my Mount Rushmore of favorite Clippers role players, and it sure feels like he’s only just getting started.