San Antonio Spurs guard Bryn Forbes is one of the purest three-point shooters in the NBA, but he plays for a team that’s very reluctant to shoot from deep.
Now that Tony Parker is no longer on the Spurs and point guards like Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker, Forbes has taken on a bigger role. He has started all 22 games for San Antonio thus far, averaging 16.1 points and 3.0 three-pointers per 36 minutes. He’s shooting 44.7 percent from three-point range, which ranks 13th in the NBA.
He has averaged 1.31 points per possession on three-pointers. According to Synergy Sports, that ranks Top 10 (minimum: 75 possessions) among high-volume contributors.
The organization has viewed the 25-year-old as a diamond in the rough for a while. Royce Young spoke to Michael C. Wright about Forbes during a podcast appearance back in October (via ESPN):
“I want to say this was like two years ago, I was down in San Antonio, and you were telling me about some of the assistant coaches were saying this was one of their best shooters they’ve ever had.”
Forbes is one of the NBA’s most effective catch-and-shoot players, averaging 1.37 points per possession on this play type. That ranks in the 91st percentile among all player, per Synergy.
With that said, only two teams (the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers) are attempting fewer catch-and-shoot threes per game than the Spurs.
Head coach Gregg Popovich, who has expressed nothing but confidence in Forbes, recently shared his thoughts about why he has been reluctant to adapt to the three-point revolution (via NBA.com):
“These days there’s such an emphasis on the three because it’s proven to be analytically correct… I hate it, but I always have, I’ve hated the three for 20 years… There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it. It’s pretty boring. But it is what it is and you need to work with it.”
San Antonio is shooting just 24.8 three-pointers per game, which is fewer than every team except the Cavaliers. This puts Forbes in a difficult position since his biggest strength goes against his head coach’s philosophy.
Forbes has connected on 45-of-96 (47 percent) of non-corner three-pointers, putting him in the 94th percentile among all players, per Cleaning the Glass. There are 67 players who have attempted more than 75 shots on non-corner three-pointers so far this season. Only Golden State’s Stephen Curry has a better field goal percentage on these looks than Forbes.
Considering his tremendous success from beyond the arc, it might be worth giving him even more looks.