Philadelphia 76ers: Tacko Fall is a perfect heir for Boban Marjanovic

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

With Boban Marjanovic set to hit free agency, the Philadelphia 76ers could find his super-sized, yet cost controlled heir in UCF big man Tacko Fall.

While the UCF Knights‘ season may be over following a 77-76 loss to the Duke Blue Devils, the breakout star of their 2018-19 campaign, Tacko Fall‘s hype train has just left the station.

After spending four seasons knocking around in the paint in sunny Orlando, Fall, a genius computer science major with Microsoft ambitions, will now look to follow in current-Philadelphia 76ers center Boban Marjanovic‘s size 20 shoes and carve out a niche in a league rapidly running away from the traditional low-post game.

Measuring in at an almost unbelievable 7-foot-6, 310 pounds with an insane 8-foot-4 wingspan, six inches bigger than the NBA’s current leader Mo Bamba (7-foot-10), Fall is among the biggest players to ever palm a basketball.

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He’s big, strong, and a certified dunker, despite being among the worst shooters in the league, and while he’s far from a guarantee to become an NBA star, in the right scheme, Fall could be an effective piece coming off the bench.

That scheme could be Brett Brown‘s.

Though the Sixers already have the best center in the league on their roster in Joel Embiid, they only have one other quasi-center under contract when the 2018-19 season ends (Jonah Bolden).

While conventional wisdom would suggest that investing assets in a second top-tier center would be superfluous for a team set to pay three players on max deals, with a fourth coming the following summer, the 76ers have played their best with a slew of big man options on the bench capable of picking up the slack when Embiid is out of the game for 12-16 minutes a night.

For what he’ll cost in the draft, there may not be a better bang-for-your-buck big than Fall.

Currently sitting outside ESPN’s 2019 Top-100 Prospects, Fall will more likely than not fail to hear his name called on June 20th, in large part due to being a throwback center in a stretch five-centric league.

However, if the 76ers were to invest one of their four (yes, four) second round picks in Fall, and lock him into a four-year, $7 million partially-guaranteed deal, the same contract they gave 2016 second round pick Jonah Bolden, Elton Brand could effectively have the two perfect complements for Embiid on the bench for virtually any situation on uber-conservative deals.

Need a big, Roy Hibbert-esque bruiser who can beat down opposing bigs for a few minutes at a time? Fall perfectly fits that bill, as highlighted by his 15 points in 25 minutes against the Blue Devils. Or what about an athletic stretch four to matchup against an athletic big like, say, Nerlens Noel, or Mo Bamba? Sub in Bolden and rack up the tempo.

Bolden, Fall, and Embiid have varied enough skillsets that two of the three could even share the court at the same time situationally; with Bolden shifting to power forward (his natural position) in an athletic front, or Embiid flexing out in a ‘twin towers’ front alongside Fall.

Ultimately, how Brand decides to address the backup center position in the back half of 2019 is anyone’s guess. Will they re-sign Marjanovic to retain everyone’s favorite odd couple ‘Bobi and Tobi’? And what about Amir Johnson? While his best days are certainly behind him, he somehow continues to be gainfully employed despite only appearing in 44 games this season.

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If the Philadelphia 76ers decide they want to forgo signing a reserve big man and instead utilize their remaining cap space on a certified bench scorer, a move they desperately should consider, utilizing a late second round pick on Tacko Fall is almost a no-brainer. While he’s far from a dominant 40-minute a night force in the paint, in limited action, the 7-foot-6 Knight could be an invaluable, long-term replacement for Boban Marjanovic for a fraction of his current cap hit.