After his insertion to the starting lineup as a third-year player, shooting guard Bryn Forbes of the San Antonio Spurs proved his long-term upside.
There’s no better place for a young player to prove himself than the NBA Playoffs. Under the blistering spotlight of the postseason, many rising talents fall victim to the moment and lose their cool on the hardwood. The Playoffs also provide a stage for unlikely contributors to show what they’re made of by leaving it all on the floor and providing maximum effort for their team.
For the San Antonio Spurs, the performance of third-year shooting guard Bryn Forbes was a solid indicator of the 25-year-old’s future. Through seven games against a Denver Nuggets team that offered a handful of athletic perimeter defenders to thwart his impact, Sparty averaged 10.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per game.
These stats don’t jump off the page until you dig a bit deeper to discover that Forbes shot 48.2 percent from the field and an exceptional 48.4 percent on three-pointers in the series. Forbes’ season came to a head in Game 7, when he scored a Playoff career-high 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting along with three triples on four takes. Just when it seemed like the Spurs were out of gas, Forbes provided the spark of energy necessary to make the game competitive once more.
This is a testament Forbes as both a player and professional – he’s a grinder at his core. Forbes wasn’t projected to be an NBA starter after his four seasons at college, but worked diligently to develop ample ball handling skills while grooming his shooting stroke and basketball IQ.
Forbes has shown considerable growth through his first three seasons with the team and is slated to carry an important role heading into next season. In all likelihood, Forbes will be displaced to the bench in favor of a point guard-heavy starting lineup with Dejounte Murray and Derrick White in featured roles. Even so, Forbes is worthy of keeping a sizeable portion of his minutes off the bench.
The 2018-19 season was a major stepping stone in Forbes’ growth. He set single-game career-highs in steals (4), assists (7), rebounds (11) and three-pointers (6) this season while showing exceptional growth in all aspects of the game. Although his undersized build at 6-foot-3 prevents him from being a lockdown defender, Forbes has evidently learned a lot from Patty Mills in terms of being a physical and pesky defender without the physical gifts of others at his position.
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Furthermore, Forbes isn’t likely to shy away from big moments. He came up clutch in multiple scenarios throughout the year while showing off a deadly pull-up jumper from just within the arc. Just as his points per game have increased in each year since he was drafted, so has his offensive rating, which reached 113 this season.
For the Spurs, flying under the radar is key to success. NBA Legend and current TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal was highly impressed by Sparty’s performance against Denver. Forbes made some fans for his effort and consistency in that series, especially in Game Seven, but the fact remains that Forbes isn’t a player that many people are aware of as a multidimensional scorer.
Forbes worked tirelessly to improve in strides and implement an insanely accurate floater game that catches defenders by surprise frequently. He has no problem contorting his body in midair to ensure a better look at the basket, effectively proving to Gregg Popovich and the Spurs’ extensive coaching staff that he can be relied on to give his all as a starter.
Regardless of what his role is next season, the Spurs should look to secure his services for years to come because of the shooting that he provides and corporate knowledge that he brings to the table.