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Clippers Retrospective: Boban Marjanovic

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Let’s remember our favorite 7’3” Clipper cult hero.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats

  • Came to L.A. from Detroit with Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and some future picks in the Blake Griffin trade in January of ‘18.
  • Averaged 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.4 blocks across 56 games with the Clippers.
  • Traded to Philadelphia last season along with Harris and Mike Scott in the deal that brought Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and future draft considerations.
  • Fought Keanu Reeves in “John Wick 3”
  • Signed with Dallas this summer on a two-year deal worth about $7 million.

Expectations

Frankly, there weren’t many expectations for Boban Marjanovic upon his arrival in L.A. The 7’3” behemoth was largely a part of the Griffin trade in order to help make the salaries work. Detroit had signed Boban to a (likely ill-advised) three-year deal worth $21 million in the summer of 2016 after the Serbian had shown flashes during a brief stint in San Antonio.

Marjanovic is decently skilled for a man of his size, though giants like him were likely more useful in earlier eras of NBA basketball. With the way more and more teams are focused on playing with pace, a big lug like Boban is fairly limited. The Clippers figured they could use his size on the defensive end on occasion, but the Griffin trade was primarily about dumping Blake’s huge salary as well as seeing what they could get out of the likes of Harris, Bradley and the picks. Marjanovic was largely a throw-in.

Reality

Boban became a fan favorite during his brief stay with the team. He was nailed to the bench during the early part of last season when Marcin Gortat’s illustrious Clippers career was in progress, but Doc Rivers started to warm up to getting the big man some real playing time if matchups warranted it.

While Boban rarely saw more than 20 minutes whenever he did get the call, he did stuff the stat sheet while he was out there. If per-36 stats were a useful stat, Marjanovic would look like a Hall-of-Famer. In 30 games with the Clips last year, he averaged 23.2 points and 14.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Arguably his most memorable moment in a Clipper uniform came back in February of 2018 when he came in and rescued the team from what looked like a blowout loss to the Nuggets. Boban came into the game with the Clippers down 19 in the third quarter, and he and the rest of the bench unit led a furious comeback that concluded in a 122-120 win for L.A. Boban contributed 18 points with 6 rebounds in what was just his second appearance with the team after coming over from the Pistons.

Legacy

While he wasn’t here long, Clipper fans will remember Boban for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the novelty that comes with seeing a 7’3” dude dwarfing everyone else and dunking with his feet still on the ground. His friendship with Tobias led to no shortage of memorable social media moments, too.

Marjanovic was useful for Doc Rivers against teams with traditional centers like Denver or Utah. His defensive shortcomings were evident against teams that tried to get him away from the basket and out into space, but when Clipper fans think of Boban that won’t be one of the first things to come to mind. Boban was one of the many reasons last season’s team was so fun to follow.

Now, we’ll have to watch him from afar. Marjanovic signed with the Mavericks this summer, where he’ll join fellow notable Euros Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Watching random players become cult heroes is part of the fun of Clipper basketball, and Boban Marjanovic will always have fans in L.A.