The Other Guys: Bryn Forbes
In the most predictable storyline of the NBA season the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich are getting hot going into the playoffs. The Spurs are winners of nine of their last 10 games, and were undefeated in the month of March until they lost to a tough Miami Heat team Wednesday night.
The Spurs have set the standard of what it means to produce sustained success in American professional sports. Locking down the team’s 22nd successive winning season with their 42nd win of the campaign against the Golden State Warriors.
Both DeMar Derozan and LaMarcus Aldridge have stepped up to the challenge in the team’s first season without Kawhi Leonard. I think it also shouldn’t be overlooked that both players have a capital M as the third letter of their name. However, strong teams in the NBA are generally just as much a product of their depth, as they are their star players, and the Spurs have a collection of role players that have played exceptionally well in the minutes they’ve been given.
Derrick White, Patty Mills, Davis Bertans and Marco Belinelli have been fantastic all year. A different name has been just a little better though.
The third year pro out of Michigan State has quietly started a team high 71 games on the season. He was thrust into the role when expected backcourt starter Dejounte Murray tore his ACL in preseason.
Forbes’ statistics don’t explode off the page, but he’s averaging a strong 11.5 points, 2.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds on 27.8 minutes a game. He’s also been super efficient with his shot attempts, as he’s shooting 44.2% from the field, 41% from behind the three-point line, and 88.7% from the free throw line.
The undrafted point guard has expanded his role threefold in his third season removed from college. Only appearing in 36 games for the Spurs his rookie season and playing mostly in the G-League. To playing in 80 games his second season, but only starting 12 of them and playing a measly 19 minutes a game.
Forbes has undoubtedly seized his opportunity this year and has taken the torch of undrafted players that Popovich and San Antonio have turned into NBA success stories.
A deeper dive into Forbes stats shows where the 6’3 guard has been able to find his success. Going back to his shooting percentages, Forbes ranks in the 93rd percentile in three point shooting for his position.
What’s even more interesting is Forbes ranking in the 95th percentile of corner three point shooting percentage at 53%, but only taking 7% of his three point shot attempts from the corner. While on the other hand ranking in the 93rd percentile of non-corner three point shot attempts.
The way the Spur’s run their offense puts other players besides Forbes in the corner for those three point attempts, but looking at his stellar firing rate from the spot it seems like he should emphasize his attempts from the location even more.
San Antonio is always a threat in the playoffs and the idea that the team is going into the postseason, as a dark horse contender should scare the rest of the Western Conference. Forbes has been an integral part of the teams’ success on the season and he’ll need to step up even more in the playoffs.