What a trade Elton Brand made.
He fleeced the Clippers, getting a player that can be so impactful and, at times, completely dominant on the offensive end.
He also got Tobias Harris in that deal.
All jokes aside, while Harris may have been the headliner in the trade, fan favorite Boban Marjanovic showed what he brings to the table in the Sixers’ 106-102 over the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center Thursday night (see observations).
With All-Star center Joel Embiid out at least a week with left knee soreness, Marjanovic got his opportunity to start and the Serbian big man ran with it.
Embiid has gotten off to fast starts this season and in that sense, the Sixers didn’t skip a beat with Marjanovic, who was a perfect 4 of 4 for 11 points in the first quarter. He tied season highs with 19 points and 12 rebounds in a season-high 27 minutes.
“He played a great game tonight. I was happy for him,” Harris said. “Just the opportunity to start with Joel out and give us that spark out there. You can’t game plan for [7-foot-3]. He did a good job just playing his game all around tonight.”
Marjanovic is a massive human — the largest in the NBA — at 7-foot-3 and 290 pounds. But there’s a lot more to his game than just his sheer size. He’s truly a skilled basketball player.
He showed off his usual touch around the basket, but also hit a mid-range jumper and even nailed a floater over Heat center Hassan Whiteside. With his frame, he’s an excellent screener and roller, but he’s also a fine passer. He’s good at spotting cutters and can literally see over the defense.
Embiid was missed — especially defensively — but Marjanovic definitely helped mitigate his absence.
“Getting Boban in here, to Elton Brand’s credit, was just a tremendous move,” Brett Brown said. “When you see him have the touch that he has at the foul line. When you see the touch that he has with jump hooks. From time to time when he drops a 14-foot floater, it doesn’t catch me off guard. He’s really incredibly skilled for a man of his size.”
The Tobi and Bobi show was out in full force Thursday. Harris finished with a game-high 23 points as the duo combined for 42 on 14 of 22 from the field.
Harris was the prize of the trade, but in short order, Marjanovic has become a fan favorite. In fact, he was greeted with a standing ovation when he checked into his first game as a Sixer.
But there is still one element of Marjanovic’s game Sixers fans haven’t seen yet.
“I was surprised he didn’t shoot a three tonight,” Harris said. “I don’t think anybody would’ve got upset with him.”
“He actually can shoot a three,” Brown said. “Like when you watch him go to a corner, he can hit a corner three.”
“He’s a bucket, man,” Jimmy Butler said. “I think Coach should let him shoot threes.”
If Marjanovic hits a three at home, the Wells Fargo Center may need a new roof.
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