Popovich on Forbes entering third season and increased minutes for rotation players

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Project Spurs illustration/San Antonio Express News

AT&T CENTER – The San Antonio Spurs will host the Detroit Pistons in their second preseason game of the 2018-19 season Friday evening. During his pregame press conference, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich discussed how shooting guard Bryn Forbes has put more emphasis on the defensive end of the floor and why the Spurs’ rotation players will be getting more minutes than usual this preseason.

“His best skill is his shooting, so we want him to shoot it,” said Popovich of Forbes. “That’s what he does best, but he’s also been working really hard on defense. He’s busting his butt to get around the court, to guard, to be physical and he’s done a good job.”

Forbes is beginning his third season with the Spurs, where he became one of their key shooters off the bench last season, as he averaged 19 minutes and made 39% of his threes with a 6.9 points per game average.

“He ate his Wheaties on a daily basis I think,” continued Popovich of Forbes. “He’s really strong and he put in the work this summer for sure.”

The Spurs have only played one preseason game thus far, and in that opening game against the Miami Heat, Forbes was the first shooting guard off the bench, where he scored five points in 18 minutes.

One of the key players Forbes may be battling for minutes this season is Derrick White. White can play both the one or two off the bench, like Patty Mills. So, if White continues to keep showing progress during this preseason, Forbes could be the player who sees his minutes slashed.

Minutes increase for rotation players

Typically, during the preseason, Popovich doesn’t play the starters and key rotation players too many minutes and different players will rest from game to game. This preseason though, Popovich is using members of the Spurs’ staff to help him figure out how much the key rotation players should play.

“The physiologists, slash geniuses, slash therapy people – all those skilled people, they want us to increase their minutes to get them ready for the season. So, they’ll probably play in the mid-20s tonight.”

With a team that currently has only 42% of its roster returning from last season, the extra minutes will help the players get back in game shape, but also, that could help to getting more acclimated with their new teammates possession by possession.

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