Boban Marjanovic can be a limited difference-maker for the Mavs this season
The Dallas Mavericks didn't quite have the offseason that the fanbase was hoping for, but the pieces the team did collect are good pieces that make them better overall. Seth Curry and Delon Wright sit at the top of that list, but after doing some homework, I think I'm more interested in seeing how big of an impact Boban Marjanovic can have for the Mavs this season.
Whoever said, "big things come in small packages," quite possibly could have been talking about the 7-foot, 3-inch tall Serbian and how much he contributes in such small sample sizes.
This past season, Marjanovic averaged 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in just 11.7 minutes per game, while splitting time with the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. He shot 62-percent from the field and 75-percent from the free-throw line. Marjanovic also shot 40-percent from deep, but it was only on 4-of-10 attempts, so we won't gawk over that one too much.
The raw averages aren't where you'll be impressed with Marjanovic. However, when you look at his advanced stats, it's pretty crazy to realize just how much the guy produces when he gets playing time. And when I say "crazy," I mean some of these numbers would be historic if Marjanovic met the minimum "minutes played" qualifiers for being included on the lists.
For example, Marjanovic has a career Player Efficiency Rating of 26.4, with 186 games and 1,819 minutes played. If he met the qualifiers, that would put him at No. 5 in NBA history, only behind Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Shaquille O'Neal. Obviously, I'm not trying to compare Marjanovic's overall body of work to those all-time NBA greats, but it does give you a glimpse of just how efficient he is, while only playing a little under 10 minutes per game for his career to this point.
Marjanovic's career field goal percentage of 58.3 would rank him No. 4 in NBA history, and his career effective field goal percentage of 58.5 would tie him with Dwight Howard for No. 3 in NBA history. Again though, and I can't stress this enough, this is only if Marjanovic met the official requirements to be included on the official lists.
Per 36 minutes for his career, Marjanovic averages 22.7 points and 14.5 rebounds. Per 100 possessions for his career, he averages 27.9 points and 17.5 rebounds. Marjanovic's career offensive rating is 124. By comparison, Chris Paul is currently No. 1 in NBA history in that category with an offensive rating of 122.62.
Seeing how the Mavs have become used to having a "bullpen" of centers for the better part of a decade, I would guess that head coach Rick Carlisle is as excited as anyone about this addition to the team. And who knows? Maybe Carlisle will encourage Marjanovic to show off a little bit more than his scoring and rebounding during his limited stints on the court.
Although Marjanovic is historically efficient, he'll never be a Hall-of-Fame player. He'll probably never accumulate big enough raw averages to ever even be an All-Star either, and that's okay! He's a super-likable guy, and he has a positive impact on and off the court, which is all a team can really ask for from its backup center. And if he can somehow help the Mavs win 3-5 games this season (3.0 win shares in 2018-2019), that's a difference-maker for a team that has missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons.
As we begin a new Mavs season, where the main focus will mostly be on the health of Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic making a leap from year-one to year-two, don't forget to watch big man Marjanovic do quick, efficient work when you get the chance.