With the legendary Tim Duncan sidelined by a sore right knee, the San Antonio Spurs needed to go a bit deeper into their big-man rotation for Monday's meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They came back with a very, very big man — Boban Marjanovic, the 7-foot-3, 290-pound giant who joined the Spurs this summer. Just as he did against the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets, Marjanovic feasted on the Wolves, using his inescapable size to bully Minnesota's backup bigs on the interior:
[Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
... en route to 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting with four rebounds, one block and one steal in 14 1/2 minutes off the bench, as San Antonio notched a 101-95 win over the young Wolves to improve to 27-6 on the season and a perfect 18-0 at the AT&T Center.
The highest PER in the NBA among players who have played 15+ games is not Stephen Curry (31.7). It's the @Spurs' Boban Marjanovic (36.3!)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 29, 2015
Marjanovic's strong play probably shouldn't come as such a surprise to so many folks. After all, the 27-year-old center did spend nearly a decade playing professionally in Europe, winning Serbian League MVP honors in each of the last three seasons; he's very skilled in addition to being flat-out enormous. One thing's for sure: if he keeps on producing like he did on Monday, he won't be a surprise for much longer. From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
“I think people look at his size and sort of think he’s a big stiff,” forward David West said, “but Boban’s a hell of a player.” [...]
“When he started at the beginning of the year, he was more of an attraction,” [Spurs assistant Ettore] Messina said. “Now people understand he is a valuable basketball player.”
And they are also coming to understand — not to put too fine a point on it or anything — just how freaking big he is.
After his game, Marjanovic sat down with Spurs sideline reporter Andrew Monaco to break down his stellar performance. What followed was an enjoyable interview capped by a remarkable contextualization of just how monstrous Boban is:
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 29, 2015
Let's take another look at that handshake:
When Boban shakes your hand it stays shook. pic.twitter.com/VRPlBOAYSH
— Complex Sports (@Complex_Sports) December 29, 2015
And, with a nod to my man Khaled, another one:
It is pretty flippin' insane that Kawhi Leonard has been unseated as the Spur with the most comically outsized hands. Like, I would have thought that you'd need extra-large adult Hulk Hands (which, now that I think about it, sounds like a product I wouldn't be allowed to discuss on a family-friendly website) to pull that off. Nope! Just needed to sign a legitimate giant who somehow manages to make fellow rookie Kristaps Porzingis seem minuscule despite standing the exact same height, and who has made his teammates feel much more confident about the chances of something good happening if they can just get the ball in the air whenever he's on the court.
“We can throw it up there and he can go get it,” Spurs guard Patty Mills said after the game, according to McDonald of the Express-News. “We can have all we can eat if that continues.”
All they can eat that Marjanovic doesn't grab first, that is. With hands that big and a frame to match, even if he's not quite the kind of opponent-eating monster that Tyler Hansbrough seemed to envision when he got his first glance at the big fella:
... I'm still betting Boban winds up with an awfully big plate when the Spurs get together and break bread.
More NBA coverage:
- - - - - - -