After a productive first season with the Detroit Pistons, 7-foot-4 Boban Marjanovic is primed to get more playing time from head coach Stan Van Gundy next season, with the possibility of challenging #Andre Drummond for the starting center spot.

The rise of the Boban

Marjanovic, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Pistons last summer, instantly became a fan favorite in Detroit, not only because of his sheer size, but also because of his steady production off the bench. In just 8.4 minutes per game, Marjanovic averaged 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. The Serbian big man also had better clip from the field at 54 percent, and shot an impressive 81 percent from the free-throw line.

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Advanced metrics further backed up Marjanovic’s productivity as he averaged 23.5 points and 16.0 rebounds per 36 minutes.

According to Rod Beard of Detroit News, Marjanovic is expected to play more minutes next season, with backup center Aron Baynes set to hit the free agency market this summer. Beard added that he won’t be shocked if the Pistons stick with Marjanovic at the center spot in the closing minutes of games next season because he’s a better free-throw shooter than Drummond.

Van Gundy even took the blame for not capitalizing on Marjanovic’s scoring ability around the basket. “This is a fault of ours that we really didn’t build anything around him, either offensively or defensively. We have to do some defensive things to help him and we’ve got to get him the ball even more offensively, but he was our third center, so we didn’t build enough around him.

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Certainly we will, going forward,” the Pistons head coach said in an interview with Detroit News.

The Kentavious effect

Bobby Marks of the Vertical notes that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's impending free agency has put the Pistons in a very tight spot financially. Caldwell-Pope, who is listed as one of the top free agents at the shooting guard position, is projected to command a max-level offer-sheet from potential suitors this summer.

With $94 million in guaranteed salary locked in next season, the Pistons will either go beyond the luxury tax threshold or let Caldwell-Pope walk away without a decent backup two-guard to fill the position.

“Signing Caldwell-Pope, a 24-year-old who contributes at both ends of the court, will restrict the Pistons in the future and likely put them in the luxury tax. Not matching an offer sheet does not give the Pistons cap space to find a replacement, and Detroit doesn’t have a backup guard on the roster to fill the void,” per Marks. #NBA