Season in review
There’s more ways to contribute to a basketball team than just scoring. We hear that frequently. Most of the time, it means crashing the glass, or locking down an opponents’ best scorer, or maybe distributing the rock. But for Boban Marjanovic, it goes beyond anything on the court.
Just glancing at his stats, it would look like a bad year for the Serbian big man. He appeared in only 23 games, a career low. He also posted career lows in points, blocks, and rebounds. But Boban isn’t on the Dallas Mavericks solely for his basketball skills. Not that they’re lacking. It’s just that he does so much more for the team.
Marjanovic finished as runner-up for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award in 2021-22. The award the award recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team. It’s easy to see why Marjanovic would be in the running.
“He’s a perfect example of being a true pro,” Jason Kidd said about Marjanovic. “He’s always prepared when his name is called. He does all the extra work. He’s the last one to leave the gym a lot of times. His spirit is high.”
Marjanovic’s key contribution is team chemist. He’s great at keeping things loose on the bench, and making sure everyone is having a good time. That might sound silly, but the NBA season is a long grind, both physically and mentally. It helps to have someone around who’s perpetually in a good mood.
Boban is especially close with Luka Doncic. “He’s amazing,” Doncic says. “You don’t meet these people every day, you know. He will help you any time. It’s just great to have him here.”
Marjanovic doesn’t score a lot, but he’s definitely lifting the Mavericks in other ways. If you think that matters, then his season was a wild success.
Marjanovic’s best game came early in the season against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while also grabbing five rebounds. He did turn the ball over four times and almost fouled out. But it didn’t matter. He was a force inside on a night when the Mavericks were short a big man in Maxi Kleber and helped them notch a win over the Spurs.
Marjanovic enters next season on the final year of a two-year deal that pays $3.5 million.
You can expect Boban to return to a similar role next year unless the Mavericks need to move him in a trade to make salaries work. Luka and the rest of the Mavericks love him, and so does everyone else in the organization. He’s not a lock to come back, but if there’s a spot at the end of the bench after all the roster shuffling, you can bet everyone will be happy to see Boban sitting there.
Boban was brought back to be an emergency big man and veteran presence on the bench. He played both roles perfectly, and also happens to be close to Luka. It’s important for the Mavericks to keep Luka happy, so Boban on the bench matters.