DALLAS - The gimmicks and the goofiness are always going to be part of The Boban Marjanovic Experience. The bond with Luka Doncic is also key to the 7-4 center’s having re-signed with the Dallas Mavericks this summer.
But as important as comedy and chemistry are, over the course of his career, smart NBA teams have also found a way to utilize Marjanovic’s unique gifts to win basketball games.
Can new coach Jason Kidd do that?
Boban played in just 33 regular-season games last year, and averaged 4.7 points and 8.3 minutes. Did the Mavs recognize that his remarkable record for offensive consistency is in decline?
Or did they under-use him?
Or - given the fact that he suddenly became a starter in the playoffs against the LA Clippers - was Dallas just grab-bagging and guessing?
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It is rather remarkable that Boban experienced his best performance of the season when under the greatest pressure - in a key postseason game. But 7-4 Boban and 7-3 paired together in the starting lineup? One NBA brain told us at the time that the strategy was “cute” - and “cute” was not meant as a compliment.
It is a compliment to Boban that he may well be the NBA player most liked by other players. And on a Mavs team plagued by conflict - Luka Doncic vs. KP and whatever else? A disarming smile can help.
But this is a job for grown-ups. Boban’s top responsibility shouldn’t be to play the role of “pal.”
Boban is a known commodity. Boban is an unusual commodity. But how and when to use him? That’s a Kidd challenge.
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