San Antonio Spurs: Bryn Forbes can use offseason to embrace new role

Bryn Forbes of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after hitting a three-point basket against the Atlanta Hawks.(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Bryn Forbes of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after hitting a three-point basket against the Atlanta Hawks.(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It’s time for Bryn Forbes to embrace a new role with the San Antonio Spurs

As the San Antonio Spurs work their way through a crucially important offseason there have been a few key storylines that have dominated the headlines about the team. With the highest draft pick since 1997 and some important free agency decisions, the Spurs are certainly in for an interesting few months.

One of the biggest question marks facing the Spurs is all of the free agency moves they’re going to have to make. DeMar DeRozan has his player-option, Jakob Poeltl is up for an extension and so is Derrick White, and Bryn Forbes and Marco Belinelli are going to be unrestricted free agents.

We already know how things are likely to shake out for quite a few of those free agents. DeMar is probably going to pick up his option. Though how San Antonio responds is another question on its own. The team would be making a mistake by not signing Poeltl and White to extensions and, as upsetting as this is to come to terms with, Belinelli has likely played his last game for the Spurs. This just leaves Bryn.

Forbes has been a key part of the Spurs over the past two years and he’s one of Gregg Popovich’s favorite players. But if he wants to stay with the team long term he’s going to have to adapt to a new role.

Bryn Forbes was meant to be the San Antonio Spurs microwave scorer

Forbes has started 143 games for the San Antonio Spurs but without a trade or mind-blowing misallocation of minutes, that streak should be coming to an end. After emerging as one of the Spurs’ best players in the bubble, Derrick White has proven that he deserves to have a starting spot. And it’s hard to see the Spurs relegating Dejounte Murray to the bench, not after signing him to a hefty extension last year.

Barring a DeMar DeRozan trade, which would likely lead to one of Lonnie Walker or Keldon Johnson entering the starting the lineup to replace him, Bryn’s only path back to the Spurs is going to be as a microwave scorer off the bench. Frankly, it’s an adjustment that should’ve been made a long time ago.

Forbes’s strengths and weaknesses as a player have been widely known for a while now. He’s capable of getting scorching hot from deep, we saw that on full display when he torched the Phoenix Suns for seven made 3-pointers before halftime this year.

The counterbalance to his strong 3-point shooting is his well below-average defense. He tied Marco for the worst defensive rating on the team this year and as a starter, he often put the Spurs at a disadvantage on that end of the floor from the jump.

Bringing Bryn off the bench would give the Spurs coaching staff more flexibility to pick and choose where to use him. If the team is getting blown out and needs a scoring spark he could be brought in with the hope that he catches fire and cuts the lead back to something more manageable. Or if they’re in a defensive slugfest with a team maybe that’s not his night and he’s used more sparingly.

Forbes can still be a valuable asset to the team, but the Spurs coaching staff needs to do a better job of using him situationally and not rolling him out for 20+ minutes night after night.

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There’s a path to Bryn returning to the San Antonio Spurs for the 2020-21 season but it must involve a role change if the team wants to be successful.