Philadelphia 76ers: Boban Marjanovic is already a Philly folk legend

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Though he’s only been a member of the Philadelphia 76ers for a handful of games, Boban Marjanovic looks like a Philly folk legend in the making.

When news broke that the Philadelphia 76ers would be without Joel Embiid for at least a week (more on that here), many fans wondered how Brett Brown‘s squad would compensate for the loss of their two-time All-Star starter in the paint.

So far so good.

Though the team’s win over the Miami Heat wasn’t their smoothest of the season, as the lead changed over a dozen times, the Sixers were still able to get that W thanks in large part to Boban Marjanovic.

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Logging his first start of the season with the 76ers (his 10th overall), Marjanovic filled Embiid’s role surprisingly well, scoring 19 points on 6-7 shooting from the field (7-10 on free throws), 12 rebounds, and a block, very JoJo-y numbers to be sure.

Though he wasn’t able to match Embiid’s typical minutes, as at 7-foot-3, 290 pounds, Boban can’t be reliably counted on for 40 minutes a night; he does serve as a viable anchor when on the court, a noticeable upgrade over what the team had before.

Sure, the 76ers wouldn’t have won without 15 solid minutes from Jonah Bolden, even if the rookie from UCLA by way of Australia didn’t score a point, but had the 76ers been forced to solely rely on his production, in addition to that of Amir Johnson, and Ben Simmons, who moonlit as a center alongside Mike Scott, it’s hard to imagine Philly getting out of their Thursday night showdown without formfitting some serious buckets to the less than formidable duo of Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk.

And really, Marjanovic looked like he was having a great time doing it.

Logging the lion’s share of his minutes alongside his best friend Tobias Harris, the second half of the NBA’s favorite odd couple ‘Bobi and Tobi’, Marjanovic provided the packed Wells Fargo Center with the theatrics typically reserved for Philly’s favorite son, Joel Embiid.

Speaking of Embiid, in last night’s game, Marjanovic became the second-fastest player in league history to score 1,000 points (1574 minutes) trailing only ‘The Process’ himself by 303 minutes.

Don’t look now, but the Sixers may have the best center tandem in the entire NBA by a pretty considerable margin.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, before Marjanovic can return to his typical role as the 76ers’ backup center, he must first fight through three-to-four more contests as the team’s lead dog, facing off against the likes of Jusuf Nurkic, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams, and (potentially) Anthony Davis.

No pressure there.

But really, even if the team can only secure one win out of the next three, bringing the team’s Embiid-less record in February to 2-2, it’s not particularly important to the Sixers’ long-term potential. Sure, facing off against the Golden State Warriors in Embiid’s (potential) first game back coming off a 3-4 or even a 4-4 record would be incredibly helpful for the team’s playoff standings, as the 76ers currently hold sole ownership of fourth place, but even if they don’t, it’s all good.

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Over the last five games, Boban Marjanovic has proven himself a perfect foil to Joel Embiid both on and off the court for the Philadelphia 76ers and should provide Brett Brown with the best, and most fun one-two punch in the East once they return to full strength.