The San Antonio Spurs list 18 players on the roster heading into training camp, and Air Alamo will break down each of the current players, their strengths, weaknesses, chances to make the roster and expectations for the 2015-16 NBA season.
After Cady Lalanne, Nikola Milutinov and Jonathan Simmons opened the countdown, the next Spurs player is a new one: Boban Marjanovic.
Who Is He?
Listed at 7’3″ and 290 pounds, Marjanovic is easily one of the biggest NBA players. The 27-year-old signed a contract with San Antonio during the offseason, bringing 10 years of overseas professional experience. Marjanovic most recently played for Crvena Zvezda of the Euroleague.
During 24 outings last year, he tallied 16.6 points and a league-leading 10.7 rebounds per game and was named first team All-Euroleague. Per DraftExpress, Marjanovic led the Euroleague with a 29.7 player efficiency rating.
Additionally, he helped Crvena Zvezda win the 2014-15 Serbian League title, and Marjanovic has earned Serbian Super League MVP honors for three straight years.
Strengths and Weaknesses
He’s big, he’s physical, he’s strong. Marjanovic certainly won’t be bullied on either end of the court. He was a dominant force down low for Crvena Zvezda last season.
7’4 center Boban Marjanovic shot 78% as a finisher and 46% posting up for Red Star in 2015. Efficient, imposing interior presence in Europe.
— Synergy Sports Tech (@SynergySST) July 10, 2015
Plus, Marjanovic is a good passer. Just because someone can see over every defender doesn’t immediately give him good vision. Marjanovic still must locate an open teammate and execute a pass, which he does well.
Marjanovic’s glaring weakness, though, is his lack of foot speed. NBA offenses—especially those with quick point guards who can shoot—have a clear advantage. If Marjanovic doesn’t contest, the player receives a wide-open jumper. If Marjanovic attempts to defend the perimeter, the opponent can easily attack the rim.
Marjanovic will also struggle when defending a center who can stretch to the arc, and he’s not a prototypical shot-blocking anchor. The size is imposing, but Marjanovic is more Roy Hibbert than Rudy Gobert.
What to Expect in 2015-16
The Spurs exercised their right to hold Marjanovic, who played through a broken foot last year, out of Eurobasket. They want him healthy for the 2015-16 season, but Marjanovic probably won’t play often.
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A majority of his minutes will be of the garbage-time variety, though Marjanovic could occupy a larger role when Tim Duncan takes a night off. Other than Duncan—and that caveat may be arguable—Marjanovic is the only true center on the San Antonio roster.
If Gregg Popovich wants a physically imposing weapon, he’ll have the option of utilizing Marjanovic. However, Spurs fans will probably get one final season of Matt Bonner as the No. 5 choice in the rotation.
San Antonio signed Marjanovic to a one-year contract. Should the Euroleague star can develop his defensive skills, it’s a no-brainer to bring back Marjanovic in 2016 if he’s happy to stay.
GIF created from DraftExpress video.