NBA 2018-19: 5 Current Starters Who Should Play Off the Bench
Every player who ever played in the NBA knows how hard it is to get a starting role; you have to work hard from day one, perhaps even harder than your other, more experienced teammates, and even then it may take a while until it will pay off. This explains why most players will oppose giving up their spot in the starting five.
But going from starting to coming off the bench doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
Manu Ginobili started coming off the bench, at Gregg Popovich's request, and despite losing some playing time, his per-game scoring numbers went up, along with his field-goal percentage and plus/minus. By the end of the next season, Ginobili also earned the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Andre Iguodala started every one of his 758 games in his first 10 seasons in the league. During that time, he recorded a single All-Star selection and made it out of the first round of the playoffs only once. In the past four years, however, Iguodala started in less than 3% of the Warriors' games, but won 3 NBA titles and the 2015 NBA Finals MVP Award.
Giving up your spot in the starting lineup can benefit both the team and the player. Here is the top 5 players who will enter this season as starters and should end it as bench players.
#1 J.R. Smith - Cleveland Cavaliers
J.R. Smith just capped off what might have been the worst season of his career. He started it on the wrong foot with the arrival of Dwyane Wade, who got his place in the starting five. Three games in, Wade relinquished his starting role for Smith's benefit, as it was clear he didn’t like it.
However, 16 games to the end of the season, Coach Ty Lue decided to return Smith to the bench. During that span, Cleveland had the third best record in the NBA and led the league in three-point shooting percentage.
After losing to Indiana in Game 1 of the first round, Lue brought Smith back to the starting five, hoping his experience will help the team through the postseason. Even though the Cavs did make it to the finals, Smith's numbers were even worse than they were in the regular season.
J.R. Smith is a former Sixth Man of the Year, so he knows he can come off the bench and still be a valuable player for his team. If he can put his ego aside, he can help Cleveland stay relevant in this post-LeBron season.