On SVG’s list of offensive options after pick and roll, throwing it to Boban makes the cut

Boban Marjanovic could become a big part of the Pistons second unit this season for his scoring ability.
Fernando Medina (NBAE/Getty)
by Keith Langlois
Web Editor

AUBURN HILLS – The Reggie Jackson-Andre Drummond pick and roll remains the staple of Stan Van Gundy’s offense. And the Pistons expect it to be better this season by degrees of magnitude given Jackson’s return to health and Drummond’s greater conditioning and focus.

After that, it’s going to be a markedly different attack than what we’ve seen the past few years simply because of roster turnover. The secondary options after the pick-and-roll had been exhausted last season were isolations to Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris and dribble handoffs or catch-and-shoot scenarios for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

This season?

“I think we’ll run catch and shoots and handoffs for Avery (Bradley),” Van Gundy began after Monday’s practice to begin the second week of Pistons camp with the third two-a-day session. “We’ll try to get Tobias plenty of opportunities to attack the basket, to drive the ball from up on top. When he’s playing the small forward, we’ll post him more.”

After that, the Pistons will look to play through Drummond and hope to use him more as a facilitator.

“He did a good job today sort of as a point center off of handoffs but then really looking for all of our five men in the paint, ducking in.”

Van Gundy finished with something that ought to perk up the ears of Pistons fans who clamored for more Boban Marjanovic last season.

“And then when we come off the bench with Boban in the post.”

Van Gundy went light in the first week on Marjanovic, coming off a month-plus with the Serbian national team as it advanced all the way to the title game of the EuroBasket tournament. But he had a strong showing on Monday.

“Today I don’t even think I shot three shots,” Anthony Tolliver said. “I literally hit him every single time underneath and it helped us because we won every game. It shows you he can definitely make a huge impact offensively, but defensively the same. He’s huge and can protect the rim and get to balls and get to blocked shots no one else can. He’s a specimen of a human being. He’s huge.”

Van Gundy and his teammates have to push Marjanovic to be a more assertive scorer and slightly less unselfish, but they also don’t want to take away his keen passing ability.

“He’s a really good passer and overly willing,” Van Gundy said. “Good and willing, no question about it. (But) two feet in the paint, he’s got to quit being a passer and be a scorer. It’s one thing if you’re off the lane; that’s fine. But two feet in the paint, you’ve got to be a scorer.”

Tolliver said Marjanovic is unlike anyone he’s played with in a career that’s seen him suit up for nine franchises. But he does compare one aspect of the 7-foot-4 Marjanovic to a pretty fair player.

“One of the few guys I’ve ever played with that has as good of hands as he does is Tim Duncan,” he said. “Literally, like anywhere I’ve thrown it around Boban, he’s caught it. Doesn’t matter, he catches the ball. His hands are humongous and he has great hands. I have all the confidence in the world if I can get just it to one of his hands, he’ll catch it.”

And it sounds like throwing the ball to Boban is in the plans for Stan Van Gundy’s team this season.