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