Bryn Forbes potentially steps into a larger role for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2017-18 season. What can be expected?
Bryn Forbes will enter his second season on the San Antonio Spurs. He joined as an undrafted free agent in 2016, finding limited playing time on the main roster, before going to developmental for consistent opportunities and seasoning. It led to just 36 games in the NBA, with 19 in the G-League (formerly the D-League).
It’s only Year 2 for Forbes, but it’s an important one. He’s in the last year of his contract, before hitting restricted free agency in July 2018. 2017-18 will be the chance for him to break out after a strong Summer League and quality preseason, as he tries to stick in the NBA.
What can be expected out of Forbes’ sophomore season? Are good things on the way for him? Let’s take a look.
4. Playing time could be difficult to find at first
The back of the rotation is somewhat cluttered, especially for guards on the San Antonio Spurs. Bryn Forbes, Derrick White, Brandon Paul will all battle for minutes, while Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills get time as the primary backups to Dejounte Murray and Danny Green. There’s also Kyle Anderson who can play the two when necessary, and has more NBA experience than any of Forbes, White and Paul combined.
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So, if Forbes finds himself behind Paul and White (more likely just Paul), it could be a challenge to find consistent playing time to start the season. That means games of garbage time of a handful of “DNP-COACH’S DECISION” labels.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Paul get the nod over Forbes, at least to begin the year. The former offers more defensive upside, with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and about an inch or two taller in height. The Michigan State product notably struggled on defense in the Summer League, after showing some progress near the end of the 2016-17 season. If it’s an issue deemed too large to overlook, then it will hurt his chance at playing time, too.
Aside from the battle with Paul, factor in how Ginobili can take 15-20 minutes per game behind Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, along with Anderson grabbing some minutes. Kawhi Leonard’s 30-35 minutes per game and Rudy Gay being behind him likely limits opportunities, as well, for wings and players at the two like Forbes. It will potentially be a tough climb.
Next: No G-League trips
3. No G-League trips this year
Bryn Forbes’ rookie season only saw him play 36 games on the San Antonio Spurs main roster. Everything else was spent in the G-League, where he participated in 19 games for the Austin Spurs. He exploded for 23.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, shooting 45 percent from 3-point range. Those numbers are too good for the G-League, and should partly keep him away from there in 2017-18.
While the G-League provided Forbes with the time he wouldn’t have received on the main roster, things could be different for him in 2017-18. No longer is he an inexperienced rookie that has no chance at playing time; that role belongs to Derrick White this season.
Instead, with what Forbes showed in the Summer League and the preseason, it gives him enough leeway to stick on the roster. That’s along with the 14 players the Spurs have to start the season, not including the injured Tony Parker.
From there, Forbes will need to play his way out of a G-League trip, since he’ll potentially start the year at the end of the rotation. We’re expecting him to do so, as long as he delivers these scoring-in-bunches outings whenever he gets the chance.
Next: Consistent playing time
2. Finds consistent rotation minutes
Bryn Forbes might find trouble getting consistent playing time to start the year, but if he impresses more often than not, it should pave a path for a solidified rotation spot.
The 24-year-old will need to shoot his way into a confirmed rotation spot. That means similar performances to the ones against the Denver Nuggets or finding a consistent shooting stroke, potentially around 40-43 percent from the field. It will come with 3-pointers, which he’s shown no issue taking and should space the floor in this open offense.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 8, 2017
As noted, defense isn’t a strong suit for Forbes. It may never be, the coaching staff could find ways to mask him, as long as his scoring stays afloat. He can play with defensive-minded players like Dejounte Murray and Kawhi Leonard, while spacing the floor with Davis Bertans and someone like LaMarcus Aldridge at center.
It will take struggles from the other guards, too, for a consistent spot. That goes for Brandon Paul and Derrick White, as well as an aging and resting Manu Ginobili. On nights Ginobili doesn’t play, Forbes can play into a ninth-man role off the bench.
Forbes’ playing time will take time to develop, but he should get it at some point in the season. How many minutes that is, remains to be seen.
Next: 3-point shooting numbers
1. Shooting beyond 40 percent from 3-point range
For however long Bryn Forbes plays in the NBA, he’ll make his money on 3-point shooting. He’s a small, quick guard that scores in bunches and takes over half of his shot attempts from behind the arc, if his regular season numbers were any indication. It wasn’t like this in the G-League, but he still shot 6.4 3-pointers per game.
In a smaller dose of playing time, Forbes will be looked at as a scorer that opens the floor for other players. He’ll linger around the arc and take plenty of 3’s. If that’s the case, look out for some gaudy shooting percentage marks from the second-year pro.
— Spurs in the 6 (@spursinthe6) October 9, 2017
Finishing at or above 40 percent from 3-point range isn’t out of the question. He flashed a 45.9 percent number in the G-League, but only hit at 32 percent in the NBA. However, in four preseason games he’s 6-for-10, including a 4-for-5 outing against the Denver Nuggets.
It will take consistent playing time and open looks for Forbes to get over 40 percent. If he often plays with superior talents that draw the defense in, then he’ll get those open opportunities. Especially if Kawhi Leonard finds double-teams and kicks out to him for the shot attempt.
What can be expected out of Forbes in the 2017-18 season?