Name: Boban Marjanovic
Years in NBA: 3
Key Stats: 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game, with 20 appearances as a Clipper. Shot 55.1% from the field and 78.8% from the free throw line, attempting 2.6 free throws per game.
2017-2018 Salary: $7,000,000
Future Contract Status: One year left at a guaranteed $7,000,000, then unrestricted free agency
Boban came over in the Blake Griffin trade as contract filler to make salaries match. There wasn’t much an expectation that he would have any impact on the court with the Clippers, as he’d barely played for the Pistons in his year and a half with the team. And in many ways, that expectation was correct. Boban appeared in just 20 games with the Clippers, and many of those were in garbage time or for extremely brief stints. Boban played 166 minutes for the Clips, ranking him 18th in minutes on the team— ahead of only Avery Bradley, Sean Kilpatrick, and Brice Johnson.
Boban’s play did win the Clippers a couple games however, a remarkable feat for a man with such little playing time on the season. And even if he hadn’t carried them to multiple victories, he would have become a fan favorite anyhow. Boban’s energy and fun attitude on the team was infectious, and he soon had a little dance crew before games with Tobias Harris and DeAndre Jordan. Fans always got very excited when they saw him at the scorer’s table, as there was a chance to witness some Boban magic. In a short time, Bobi became a beloved member of the Clippers’ roster.
Boban is a fearsome, unstoppable presence in the post on offense. If he catches the ball within 8 feet of the basket, he’s likely going to score, regardless of who is defending him. Boban has an array of post moves, but really, all he needs to do is back down his man a little, and then his incredible length and reach enable him to just flip the ball in. Boban’s game is more diverse than that though. He has a jumpshot that works out to midrange, and his soft touch makes him a very good free throw shooter. Bobi is also a shockingly good passer, capable of making interior dishes to fellow big men, and of playmaking from the top of the key. On defense, he is an impenetrable wall around the basket, and can stifle weak attempts at the rim with the greatest of ease.
Perhaps Boban’s biggest strength is that he’s an incredible person and teammate by all accounts. A funny, spirited, kind man who can get along with anyone, Boban is invaluable to the locker room, and no price tag can be put on that.
Boban only really has two weaknesses, but they are significant enough that he can’t receive large, consistent minutes on a regular basis. The first is his lack of lateral quickness on defense. Opposing teams can spread the floor against Boban, put him in pick and rolls, and feast against his slow feet. Boban tries hard, and generally knows where to go on defense, but his size prevents him from being a capable help and recover defender. The other weakness, tied to the first, is that Boban gets tired very easily. Moving at the speed of play present in the current NBA is extremely difficult for such a large body, and just a few minutes of scrambling defense leaves Boban close to gassed. This means he can’t play for long stints (generally six to seven minutes is the maximum, unless he’s absolutely dominating the game), and only against teams or lineups that can’t punish him defensively. Therefore, he’s a limited, if potent, weapon.
Future with Clippers:
Montrezl Harrell is a restricted free agent this summer, and DeAndre Jordan could be an unrestricted free agent if he declines his player option. That would leave Boban as the only center on the roster. While it seems likely that the Clippers will draft a big man with one of their two first round picks, having Boban will at the very least be a safeguard against injuries next season. He can’t play every game, and can’t play for that all long, yet he’s a difference making player for a handful of games a season. That is incredibly valuable, especially for a team that will probably lack top-end, game-changing talent once again. All those positives aren’t even counting his locker room presence, which is worth a lot by itself.
It’s probable we see Boban back in a Clippers’ uniform next season. After that, who knows? Boban is just fun, and the team is more fun with him on it. I think he’s a fantastic player to have in reserve, and it would be great if the Clippers could keep him on a smaller deal for years to come. Bobi for life.