During the 2016-17 season, Boban Marjanovic saw limited playing time at center behind Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes. When Marjanovic did play formidable minutes (20 minutes or more which only happened 4 games all season) he showed outstanding touch at the rim averaging a double-double (17.5 points, 13 rebounds). However, Pistons’ Coach Stan Van Gundy, opted to play Baynes more because Marjanovic cannot keep up with the constant switching of the modern NBA plus he lacks lateral quickness off the dribble. All guards and most “bigs” can easily blow by Marjanovic off the ball or they can lose him with a step back:
During the summer, Marjanovic represented his home country of Serbia in EuroBasketball 2017. In nine games, Marjanovic averaged 12.4 points and 3.7 rebounds, helping his team to second place. Similar to the NBA, Marjanovic dominated the paint on offense but struggled defensively, especially when he was three feet or more from the basket.
For the upcoming season, Marjanovic’s role is not solidified but it appears he will be the backup center behind Drummond. Off the bench, Marjanovic will have the green light to score from the post and SVG is expecting him to do just that.
Van Gundy also compared Marjanovic’s hands to the great Tim Duncan when he commented, “One of the few guys I’ve ever played with that has as good of hands as he does is Tim Duncan.” Furthermore, SVG stated, “Literally, like anywhere I’ve thrown it around Boban, he’s caught it. Doesn’t matter, he catches the ball. His hands are humongous and he has great hands. I have all the confidence in the world if I can get just it to one of his hands, he’ll catch it.” Van Gundy has also been impressed with Boban’s ability to find the open man boasting, “He’s a really good passer and overly willing.”
The biggest threat to Marjanovic’s playing time is newly acquired, Eric Moreland. Moreland impressed the Pistons coaching staff in Orlando Summer League with his huge put-back dunks and by blocking shots. Simply put, Moreland is quicker and more athletic than Marjanovic so expect Moreland to play more when the Pistons need defense.
Ultimately, Marjanovic’s playing time will depend on specific match-ups and his ability to stay on the floor defensively. Best case scenario, Marjanovic will lead the Pistons in scoring off the bench but worst case, Moreland supplants him because of his ability to run the floor and block shots.
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