Dallas Mavericks: Boban Marjanovic deserves playing time

Dallas Mavericks Boban Marjanovic Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Boban Marjanovic Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Boban Marjanovic is a skilled big man. He has posted PERs of 27.7, 29.6, 26.0, and 24.2 in the past four seasons. He’s also a career 58.3 percent shooter from the field. He just needs to get minutes off the Dallas Mavericks bench.

After joining the Dallas Mavericks during the offseason, Boban Marjanovic is with his fifth team in five years in the league. He is a career 6.2 points per game scorer. He also each year has had a PER (player efficiency rating) over 20. He does not average enough minutes to rank amongst the league leaders, but it’s impressive Marjanovic is so effective every time he gets on the floor. Coach Rick Carlisle needs to develop his talent and give Marjanovic some playing time.

When the 76ers got Marjanovic (as part of the Tobias Harris deal) at the trade deadline last season, he immediately become the backup to Joel Embiid and rewarded the team with averages of 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 22 games, including three starts. He shot 62.5 percent from the field and even 50.0 percent from long distance (though it was only on eight attempts).

Marjanovic had a usage rate of 23.7 while averaging 23.6 points and 14.8 rebounds per 40 minutes of game play. Marjanovic also had a true shooting percentage of 66.3 percent, so he’s basically un-guardable when near the rim. Based purely on Marjanovic’s efficiency in his small sample size of 13.9 average minutes played, if extrapolated and given more time on the floor, he can be an effective big man in the league.

The Houston Rockets used similar tactics when evaluating the performance of James Harden while he was with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden played off the bench behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Rockets traded for Harden and made him their franchise player, projecting All-Star numbers if Harden was given more minutes and shots.

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No one is expecting the same type of performance with Marjanovic. However, he’s is not just a tall body like Shawn Bradley or Gheorghe Mureșan. Marjanovic is a capable NBA player. At 7’3, Marjanovic is one of the league’s tallest players and he is tough to put a body on in the paint. He is smooth around the basket, has a solid mid-range jumper and can stretch the defense. He doesn’t even need to jump to dunk.

Since his rookie year, he’s posted a PER of 27.7, 29.6, 26.0, and 24.2. There have been many tall players in the NBA who have never even come close to such efficiency. Last season, Marjanovic shot 61.5 percent from the field with the average distance of his field goal attempts being 5.3 feet.

He was most effective near the rim where he shot a robust 73.1 percent on baskets 0-3 feet from the rim. As Marjanovic moved away from the basket, he was still efficient shooting 47.1 and 57.7 percent on shots 3-10 and 10-16 feet from the rim, respectively. He also had a total of 37 dunks. Throughout his career, his teams are a +3.8 per 100 possessions when Marjanovic is on the court.

For the Mavs, Marjanovic can be the catalyst for the second unit. Teams are forced to double Marjanovic when he gets low in the paint leaving open shots for Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson and others. He can score and clean up on the offensive glass as well. If the Mavs want to go big, he can play with the starters, and give spacing for Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

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Marjanovic has yet to get off the bench in the first four games of this early season. Hopefully he can get some minutes and builds trust with his teammates.