The Los Angeles Clippers have one of the NBA’s biggest fan favorites in Boban Marjanovic, who has proven that he should be starting over Marcin Gortat.
In hindsight, the Los Angeles Clippers trading Blake Griffin might have been one of the bet moves the team could have made. While Griffin certainly is talented and would’ve been a deserving lifetime Clipper, his enormous contract would have handcuffed the team from making that next leap.
Plus, the Clippers got a steal of a return for Griffin that left the team with more talent overall as well as financial freedom moving forward.
Los Angeles received a 2018 first-round draft pick, Tobias Harris, who was as good as Griffin last year and is only a slight downgrade this year, Avery Bradley, a defensive specialist that could get the Clippers a nice trade return this February and Boban Marjanovic, a seven-foot-three center that is one of the NBA’s biggest fan favorites.
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All three of these pieces have served the Los Angeles Clippers in some way. And while Harris is leading the team and Bradley might be underwhelming right now, the biggest takeaway is how good Boban Marjanovic has been.
The Los Angeles Clippers traded Austin Rivers for Marcin Gortat this past summer, leaving Marjanovic on the bench and Gortat in the starting role. Coming off the bench, Marjanovic is averaging 8.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.
Those are pretty good numbers and Marjanovic leads the team in scoring per 36 minutes, averaging 28.7 points per 36. Granted, that number would go down if he actually played 36 minutes a game but it is a good indicator of how successful he has been.
Meanwhile, Gortat is averaging only 3.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game and has started all eight games for the Clippers. He has the worst scoring per 36 minutes, averaging just 7.8 points per 36.
He has not been as efficient in rebounding and with these numbers, you would think that there would be some sort of defensive deficiency that is keeping Marjanovic off the court and Gortat on the court.
But that is not the case. Marjanovic has the best defensive rating (98) on the Los Angeles Clippers. He is the only player under 100. Meanwhile, Gortat is not terrible but allows an estimated 10 more points per 100 possessions with a 108 rating.
Marjanovic is obviously succeeding on the bench and I do understand the sentiment of wanting to keep him there for matchup reasons. However, at the very least, Marjanovic has proven that he could help the team a whole lot more if he got around 20 minutes per game, not 11.
But I will take it even further: it is time to let Marjanovic be the starting center and see how he fits this starting lineup. If it truly is night and day between bringing him off the bench than so be it, have him play 18-20 minutes off the bench.
However, there is a very good chance that he becomes a rim protector and finisher that is better than DeAndre Jordan was last season. Give him a chance, Doc.