We’re wrapping up the season with player retrospectives. Today offers two centers who AREN’T Alperen Sengun: Boban Marjanovich, of TV commercial fame, and Frank Kaminsky, who is almost certainly more useful to a team that isn’t the Rockets.
Sometimes it’s not about how you play, or how much, but who you are. Boban is reputedly one of the nicest men in the NBA, and I’ve personally seen or read nothing to contraindicate that.
Boban is in his mid thirties, and was never swift of foot, but he IS 7’3” (at least) and kids of all ages love to see the gentle giant play basketball, or sign autographs, or act in TV commercials or just hang around. In a dismal Rockets season, Boban was a spot of cheerful, positive, energy. As such, he’s good for young guys to have around, especially when the losing is continual.
Given the Rockets use of the back of the bench, it was probably better to let a player like Boban occupy the last roster spot than a kid who needs real minutes to improve. Let them play in The Valley, and let Boban sign autographs, so that someone who went to the game takes something good away from it.
Mostly Boban was used by Silas & Co as a sign of capitulation with 2-5 minutes left in a game. That’s a shame, because when deployed correctly, Boban was actually effective and his minutes could be positive. No, he’s not switchy, but the Rockets played drop coverage most of the year. No, he doesn’t move laterally. But he IS 7’3”, 300+ lbs. If you’re playing against a big who relies mostly on being bigger inside than any opponent, well, Boban is usually bigger than that player. If you want to just close the paint for a while, Boban occupies a lot of it. He comes with six fouls, and no one wants a hard foul from Boban.
You’d basically have to use him until the other team reacted with a lineup meant to thwart Boban, but if you needed to buy a few minutes rest, Boban could help with that. It’s a shame he was used as a “Defeat Cigar” and sight gag more than a real player, but that’s the way this season went. It wouldn’t have meant big minutes, but it might have been winning minutes.
Those good minutes, given how Boban was used, in garbage time, are hard to tease out, but the fact that he contributed, meaningfully, to late season wins speaks to a certain role. What that role might be next year is unclear. Maybe a friendly mascot for another team, maybe for the Rockets. At nearly 35, he probably doesn’t have long left in the NBA. Whatever the case, I wish Boban nothing but the best.
Frank Kaminsky perhaps exists as a warning not to take the NCAA Tournament too seriously as a player evaluation tool. He had a spectacular run with the Wisconsin Badgers, but even then it seemed clear that his NBA role was probably limited. That, of course, didn’t stop the Charlotte Hornets from picking him 9th.
That’s not Frank’s fault. Frank the Tank has shot 35% from three for his career, but unfortunately has never put up more than 5 attempts per game, and never surpassed 26 minutes a game. So in theory, he’s a spacing big. In reality, he’s not a good defender, and is a tough combination of somewhat immobile, but also not especially powerful physically. He’s willing to mix it up, but if you play him in a switching scheme, he’ll be hunted. If you play him in drop coverage, he can’t defend the paint. He doesn’t rebound well for his size.
So in the end you’re left with a 3rd center that can shoot the three pretty well. Not the worst thing, but not especially handy to the Rockets. He came to Houston in a strange flurry of deadline and dead money deals, and he’s not likely to be a Rocket next season.
Frank’s wild years are probably over in the NBA, but he can likely help a team whose bench needs a shooting big. Given Frank’s age, and the Rockets trajectory, that’s not Houston.
Best of luck to Frank The Tank in his next stop.
This poll is closed
The Same Boban
Just put up the Boban statue already.