San Antonio Spurs: Bryn Forbes is having a breakout year

Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images /

Despite the early adversity for the San Antonio Spurs, Bryn Forbes has emerged as a bright spot in 2018-19, enjoying a breakout year.

For the second straight season, the San Antonio Spurs have had a tumultuous preseason. Last season it was the forwards, with LaMarcus Aldridge being unhappy and Kawhi Leonard being injured.

This season, the issues have been with the guards. Danny Green was part of the trade package shipped Leonard to the Toronto Raptors. Last season’s starting point guard, Dejounte Murray, was ruled out for the season thanks to an ACL injury. On top of that, first round draft pick Lonnie Walker IV was also injured in the preseason.

Fortunately, the Spurs picked up the talents of DeMar DeRozan in the Leonard trade. However, the quiet achiever who is having a breakout year is Bryn Forbes. Head coach Gregg Popovich appears to have unshakeable faith in his entire young guard brigade, and they repay him whenever they take the court.

Forbes has started all 30 games and has been contributing almost every night. This has been a huge part of the success of the Spurs this year. While they are sitting in 10th in the Western Conference standings, they are just 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. In fact, they’re only 5.5 games from the top spot, such is the competitiveness of the West right now.

By the numbers

Forbes is having a solid season, averaging 11.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.6 steals in 26.4 minutes per game. Compare this to his career numbers of 6.9 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.3 steals in 17.9 minutes per game and he’s posting career highs in all five categories.

His scoring average is 4.9 points per game higher than his career average. Forbes has only had eight games this year where he has failed to score in double figures. The Spurs have a 5-3 record in these games. A deeper look into his numbers show improved efficiency to go with the output.

From the field, Forbes is shooting a respectable 44.8 percent, which is higher than his career 42.3 field goal percentage. However, it is from the perimeter where Forbes has some eye-popping stats. For the first time in his career, Forbes is shooting over 40 percent from deep. He’s taking 4.9 3-point shots per game, making 2.0 of them. That is good for 41.5 percent on the season.

All of these are well above his career numbers, where he averages 2.9 attempts for 1.1 makes per game at 39 percent. Not bad for a point guard who was third in line at the start of the season behind Murray and Patty Mills.

Could he be an award winner?

Is there a chance that this breakout season could result in another Spurs guard getting some unexpected hardware? Forbes’ season numbers are an impressive rise from his career numbers that he could be on the outskirts of the conversation for Most Improved Player.

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When you take into account the Spurs lost two of their best perimeter shooters in Leonard and Green, Forbes’ numbers start to look more impressive. Then, take into account the fact that floor-spacing big man Pau Gasol has only played nine games and you can understand the importance of the Forbes’ improvement for the San Antonio Spurs, even if he won’t seriously be in the mix for MIP.