Spurs fans react to baffling defensive possession by Forbes
By Josh Paredes
When the San Antonio Spurs fans first announced they were bringing back Bryn Forbes, it left many fans asking questions.
Did his last tenure even go well enough for a reunion? Wasn't the franchise trying to move forward with a full youth movement? Can the Spurs afford to give him minutes knowing his defensive issues? Through the first month of the season, it's starting to look like the answer to the last question is no.
Against the LA Clippers on Tuesday, Forbes subbed in for Derrick White with 4:39 left in the third quarter with the game tied at 69. By the time he checked out one minute into the fourth, the Spurs had fallen behind by 15. During that stretch, Forbes was 0-for-3 from the field and constantly found himself lost on the defensive end.
This isn't meant to put the blame all on his shoulders. The lineup during that drought was just one of many correctable mistakes Coach Popovich and the team made that led to the loss. But it's hard to not see Bryn's lack of defensive awareness as a key issue in opponents making runs when things like this happen.
If you pause the below clip at 32 seconds, you'll see a bizarre variation of what maybe is a 2-3 zone? I'm not quite sure what to call it, as it looks more like the shape of a Y than anything. In any case, essentially Forbes is positioned in no man's land, fronting 7-footer Isaiah Hartenstein, who's already being defended from behind by Thaddeus Young. As you play the clip, keep an eye on the action at the top of the key and far wing.
For whatever reason, Forbes remains basically guarding no one, pointing instead to either Young or Lonnie Walker to help on Brandon Boston. One would have left a wide-open dunk for Hartenstein and the other would've led to a wide-open Luke Kennard in the corner, so neither would've been smart helps.
What ends up happening is Tre Jones has to help off his own man and is understandably way too late to cover Boston, who hits his first NBA three ever.
These plays happen all too often with Forbes, and when I turned to Twitter asking what he was doing here, I found I wasn't the only one lamenting that fact.
Others, meanwhile, tried to find some humor in the otherwise depressing sequence that led to a 15-point deficit.
Whatever happened here, it was clear the communication was far from where it needed to be for the Spurs to mount a comeback. San Antonio ended up cutting into the lead when Derrick White came back into the game, but too much damage had already been done.
Through 14 games, Forbes stands at or near the bottom of several team categories such as defensive box plus/minus, defensive win shares, value over replacement player, and net plus/minus per 100 possessions.