It’s hard to miss Boban Marjanović when he comes into a room, and not just because his 7-4 frame towers over everybody.
His personality is perhaps even bigger.
On Saturday, after a lively practice session, Marjanović was asked about the fun-loving relationship he has with teammate Luka Dončić and he said: “We’re like Dumb and Dumber. You guys can guess who’s who. It’s a joke on the side. We have so much fun together.”
That’s off the court. On the court they both tend to keep their minds on their business. That’s the key for Marjanović as he tries to carve out a niche with the second unit – an expansive second unit, at that.
Boban has to figure out ways to split time with Maxi Kleber and Willie Cauley-Stein behind Dwight Powell and, eventually, Kristaps Porzingis when he returns from knee surgery.
During the NBA restart, Marjanović was counted on heavily because Powell and Cauley-Stein were unavailable. And Marjanović contributed well.
Now, it’s a bit more of a crowded house.
“We got a great collection of big guys,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “On paper, there really aren’t enough minutes for everybody to play every game. At least an ample-minutes type of situation.
“Our bigs are going to have to be ready for anything. Bobi was always ready last year. We played him more situationally. He’s just going to have to be ready. Same thing with all our bigs. It’s going to be tough to dial in X-number of minutes for anybody, really, which is a good thing. It means we’ve got great depth and we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things.”
Boban has taken the same smile-through-anything approach that he has for the rest of his life.
“I’m excited for every unit,” he said. “Being out on the court is a blessing. You’re healthy, you have a job, you can help the team. If not helping on the court, I try to help on the bench.”
Lee waived, roster set: The Mavericks got down to the roster limit on Saturday by waiving Courtney Lee.
That means they have 15 players, plus a pair of two-way players, bringing their total to the maximum of 17 players.
There’s always the chance that the Mavericks could find somebody on the waiver wire that they like, but as Carlisle said: “We’re always looking, but I would say it’s unlikely.”
Lee’s waiving was not unexpected. He was brought in last week to fill the spot opened up by J.J. Barea’s waiving and Lee knew he was a long shot to make the team.
“Courtney came in and did a terrific job,” Carlisle said. “He got a chance to play the other night (against Minnesota), did good things in five or six minutes.
“We wanted to give him an opportunity to work with our guys for a few days and possibly play the Minnesota game to show people that he can still play, which he can. But that takes us to the limit and this is what we’re looking at.”
Here’s the roster breakdown:
Projected starters: Luka Dončić, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Richardson.
Backups: Maxi Kleber, Jalen Brunson, Wes Iwundu, Josh Green, Trey Burke, Willie Cauley-Stein, James Johnson, Boban Marjanović, Tyrell Terry, Kristaps Porzingis (injured).
Two-way players: Nate Hinton, Tyler Bey.