Boban Marjanović is doing some amazing stuff lately.
Think about this: He sits for two games. Doesn’t even budge off the bench. Then shows up in New Orleans and posts a double-double.
Later on this just-completed 4-1 road trip, he sits for two games. Then on Saturday, he starts against Washington and throws down another double-double, including a season-best 15 points.
But that’s not the really cool part, coach Rick Carlisle said.
“Boban’s got a lot going on,” Carlisle said. “He’s got to fit us in around his commercial-making schedule. And that can’t be easy. It’s good that he fits us in.”
Anybody who has seen the Goldfish commercial knows Marjanović has a flair for acting. His work in John Wick, Chapter 3 received great reviews, too.
But it’s no act that the 7-4 Marjanović has produced in big-time ways for the Mavericks, even when he only gets a casting call once every so often. And many times, it’s only a cameo when he is on stage.
But when he gets leading-role opportunities, he has been an award winner more often than not. There’s a reason for that, Carlisle said.
“Look, he’s a productive guy,” he said after the win at Washington that pushed the Mavericks to 27-21 and in position to make a run with nine of their next 11 games at American Airlines Center. “And we tend to look for certain desirable situations that we think are good situations for him to play.
“But he’s going to be a factor one way or another in any game he goes in. It’s not easy to do what he’s doing. But he’s a tireless worker. He’ll stay in the gym and play one-on-one with one of our video guys if he’s not playing much (in games) to keep his conditioning going.”
Perhaps nobody in the league understands the concept of staying ready for your opportunities better than Boban. And, his cheery outlook on life doesn’t hurt.
“He loves to play basketball, loves his teammates and his teammates love him,” Carlisle said. “He’s just one of these people that naturally seems to be very grateful to be in the NBA, to be living life. To be doing whatever he’s doing. He’s a great guy to be around because you can’t help but feel a positive vibe.”
Marjanović has proven that he can be a major weapon in certain matchups. When opponents go small, he usually gives way to Dwight Powell. But he’s always been a factor offensively and his rebounding has been a part of the Mavericks’ defensive resurgence over the past month.
When Boban is on the floor, opponents have to account for him.
“We did great things with the (defensive) theme,” he said of Saturday’s defensive effort, which limited Washington to 87 points. “And we come back home with a (feel) that is really good for the next game.”
The Mavericks play Utah at AAC Monday. The Jazz have the NBA’s best record.
With 7-1 Rudy Gobert anchoring the Jazz’s interior, it could be another chance for Boban to get action.
One thing’s for sure, if he does, he’ll enjoy every minute on the court, especially working the pick and roll with Luka Dončić.
“I set good screens and he’ll do the rest,” Boban said of working with Luka. “He’ll either find someone or score. It’s Luka magic. He can do everything.”
Boban isn’t required to do everything. But the things he does, he can do very, very well. And his teammates are noticing.
“He’s doing great,” said Jalen Brunson. “Boban, he has to be mentally strong. Coach asks him to do a lot of great things for us. He’s a very mentally strong guy. He just does what he does for us and we’re thankful to have him.”
No harm on Luka drive: It was a scary moment for Mavericks’ fans when Dončić drove to the basket in the second half against Washington, was challenged by Russell Westbrook, then fell awkwardly on his left leg.
The landing didn’t look good. But Luka got up after the fall and walked off with no ill effects.
“It’s good,” he said afterward. “I was going to dunk it. It was going to be probably the dunk of the year. But, what can I say?”
That was followed by a “yeah, right” grin from Dončić.