Philadelphia 76ers: Signing Kyle O’Quinn over Boban would be a bummer

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

While signing Kyle O’Quinn as a third center isn’t a terrible move by the Philadelphia 76ers, doing so at the cost of Boban Marjanovic would be a major bummer.

With Joel Embiid and Al Horford under contract through the 2022 NBA season, it looks like the Philadelphia 76ers are more or less set at center for the foreseeable future.

However, between Embiid’s ever-present injury concerns, and Horford’s age, the team should still sign a true third center to fill out the roster going into the season.

On Monday night, the team did just that, signing Kyle O’Quinn to a one-year, veteran minimum contract.

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Measuring in at 6-foot-10, 250-pounds, O’Quinn has bounced around the league over his last seven years as a professional basketball player, playing for the Indiana Pacers, the New York Knicks, and the Orlando Magic.

While O’Quinn should be able to step in and perform admirably as the team’s deep bench reserve center -as he averaged 7.1 points in 18 minutes of action back in 2017-18- this signing has an effect on all the team’s outgoing big men and whether or not they return to the City of Brotherly Love next season.

Most notably Boban Marjanovic.

Yes Boban, the John Wick villain and taller half of ‘Bobi and Tobi’, who came to the Sixers as part of a two team, five-player deal with the Los Angeles Clippers last summer now appears to be on the market for new team to play for in 2019, one interested in optimizing his 7-foot-3, 290 pound frame.

And if that team isn’t the Sixers, it would be a real shame.

On the court, Marjanovic is a really hard player to adequately value, because depending on the matchup he could be borderline dominant to borderline unplayable.

Sure, he has a nice shot and even made his first four 3-point shots in the NBA, but because of his lack of speed, hops, or athleticism, Marjanovic can be brutalized by even average athletes at the center position.

In a lot of ways, Marjanovic reminds me of Roy Hibbert, another dominant rim protector whose career stalled out because he couldn’t adjust to the new speed of the game, and even in Philly’s super-sized, defense-focused front, Boban is not a player who could play in all 82 games.

But still, when he did play, Marjanovic had some encouraging results.

In the 32 games Boban played last season for the Sixers, he scored in double-digits 13 times and had a pair of double-doubles.

Furthermore, Boban just so happens to be best friends with Tobias Harris, the player Philly just committed five-years and $180 million to on the opening day of free agency. While committing a roster spot just to make Harris happy isn’t an amazing idea, it certainly couldn’t hurt as he transitions into a more prominent role as the team’s second option on offense.

Having played together for three seasons on three different teams, Marjanovic and Harris have an established connection and proven to be an effective one-two punch in the pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop action.

Marjanovic is even a better statistical player than O’Quinn at this point of his career, averaging a career-high 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 13.9 minutes of action a night last season, versus O’Quinn’s 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in 8.2 minutes of action.

Despite being two years older, Marjanovic is getting better, whereas O’Quinn is much more road worn after playing 4582 more minutes in the NBA (6401 vs.1819).

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Ultimately, the decision to sign Kyle O’Quinn isn’t a terrible idea – especially on a veteran-minimum contract – but if it comes at the cost of Boban Marjanovic, it’s hard to imagine fans in the 215 being overly excited about his addition to the Philadelphia 76ers.