This is the 13th season preview before the season starts. With only the rookies left to follow. ITS ALMOST TIME FOR PISTONS BASKETBALL!!
Here is his shot chart from last year. (Once again, small sample size applies.)
Where he stands now:
Boban was signed to a 3 year $21 million deal this offseason, pulling him away from the Spurs. And he is currently 28 and will be all season. Last year he was mostly a bench guy that occasionally got some time. He figures to be the 3rd big behind Andre and Baynes.
What to generally expect from him this year:
Once again, he figures to at least start off the year as the 3rd center behind Andre and Baynes. Hopefully he is able to get some playing time at least in some matchups, and otherwise play well enough in practice and garbage time to push Baynes for minutes. The Pistons signed him to a contract for the next 3 years, with 2 of those figuring to be after Baynes is gone where Boban would become the backup center. So even if he doesn't need to step into that role this year, it'd be nice if he could show the ability to do it this year.
Boban's bread and butter is in the post, when he catches the ball in deep, there is literally nothing that can be done to stop him. I mean look back at that shot chart, it's a small sample size, but dude is money at the hoop. He occasionally will bring the ball too low, allowing his defender to poke the ball away, but he usually avoids that and has such a soft touch that he gets the ball in the hoop. He also draws a TON of fouls, in fact if he were to keep up his pace and play like 36 minutes per game, he would lead the NBA in free throws, and praise be, he can hit free throws too.
The main thing that actually surprised me in the preseason was his ability as a passer. He may not be Gasol, but he has the same soft touch on his passes as his shot, and with his size he can throw some passes that other people just can't.
One of the most impressive things is that Boban can actually run pretty well for a guy of his size, he sets mean picks and runs hard to the hoop. Since his hands are so freaking big he can catch passes in traffic with ease and finish at the hoop. Throw in that he has at least some capability to shoot in the midrange and Boban should be a wonderful offensive player.
Boban on defense is a bit of a curiosity as far as how valuable he is. On one hand, when he stays around the hoop, he eats up rebounds and blocks tons of shots by virtue of being freaking huge. He is so strong that trying to post him up is mostly a lost cause as well. The problem is that when he is pulled out of the paint, having to corral opposing ball handlers, he just does not have the speed to keep up with them and spends a lot of time falling just a bit too far behind for him to really protect the rim.
I think that Zach Lowe described Boban's defensive abilities better than I could. Boban is the sort of player that he could be a valuable cog in a good defense, but he isn't the sort of guy who can prop up a bad one.
I mean, some people are just awesome. I don't know this guy, but between what both the Spurs and everyone around the Pistons has said, it is that Boban is an absolutely great guy to have around who goes at it every practice, works hard, and is very coachable. And from the outside looking in, he just looks like a guy who is just thrilled that he is playing on an NBA team and wants to do as well as he can. He is sort of like Kenny Kawaguchi from the backyard games, but instead of being in a wheel chair he is a 7 foot 3 monster. So he's actually nothing like him. You get what I mean.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Boban catches the ball deep in the paint.
People try and post him up.
He is winning minutes from Baynes.
Run for the hills if:
He has to corral a ball handler.
He is bringing the ball too low.
He is playing minutes not because he won them, but because Baynes lost them.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Boban is the backup center by the end of the year.
He is the most efficient post up scorer in the NBA. Again.
Everyone freaking loves him. Because they already do.
What do you think? How will Boban do? Would you put him over Baynes?