Welcome to the 2017-18 season player reviews, where we will be rehashing the performance of all 15 Spurs from this season (excluding two-way players Darrun Hilliard and Matt Costello) and looking towards the future. If you’ve missed any you can click here to catch up.
2017-18 stats: 6.9 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1 assist, 39.0% 3FG
2017-18 salary: $1.31 million
Contract: restricted free agent
After making the Spurs roster in 2016 as an undrafted free agent and spending most of his rookie season in Austin, Forbes entered last summer with the task of having to convince the Spurs to pick up his option and keep him around two different times. Given full reign to destroy the Summer League and prove himself, he did just that to make the roster by August 1. He then had until January 10 to convince the Spurs make his contract fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season, and again he contributed enough to a depleted Spurs club to make it happen.
19 minutes per game over 80 games was probably not what either side expected coming into the season, but injuries forced Forbes into action early and often. While he was nothing special, he did what he was supposed to do: spread the floor and shoot threes. Nearly 46 percent of his shots came from beyond the arc, and he hit them at a team-high 39.0 percent rate for the season.
Of course, like all players this is not to say Forbes wasn’t without his shortcomings. Despite a near three-inch height advantage over Tony Parker and Patty Mills, he still managed to put up the worst defensive stats on the team. At the same time, the Spurs put a top-three defense on the court for the season despite almost no Kawhi Leonard, so the damage on that end was minimal.
Being undersized for a shooting guard, where he spent 84 percent of his playing time, was already a disadvantage of his, and being thrust into the impossible task of small forward for over 200 minutes in the season as part of those dreaded three-guard line-ups (mostly while Rudy Gay was also out) didn’t help his cause either. The effort was always there, and while he is a sub-par defender regardless of anything, he was still thrown into some impossible situations on that end of the court.
To that end the debate between Forbes and Davis Bertans raged all season, but what matters here is Forbes answered Gregg Popovich’s call to the best of his abilities and has likely created an NBA career for himself as a result. Wherever that may be, it’s quite the accomplishment after going undrafted just two years prior.
Forbes is a restricted free agent, which means the Spurs can either give him a qualifying offer (worth about $1.65 million) and decide whether to match offers from other teams, or they can rescind and make him an unrestricted free agent. Neither choice would be surprising, and with their abundance of guards it could once again come down to what they do in the draft or how the summer for other guards/wings (specifically Parker, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, and Brandon Paul) plays out.
Be it restricted or unrestricted free agency, it’s not hard to see another team seeing his potential and signing him as a shooter off the bench. Even if he ends up back with the Spurs, assuming the rotation goes back to the way it should have been (a la 2016-17), then Forbes likely won’t see the minutes he did this season. However, he would still be a good secret weapon they could unleash at any time off the bench (which was likely their original intentions).
We may or may not have seen the last of Sparty in silver and black, but even if he moves on and makes a name for himself elsewhere, he will be another in a long line of NBA players who likely never would have gotten here without the belief of the Spurs and Pop. For Forbes, that’s mission accomplished.
Jan 28 vs. Kings: 23 points, 2 assists, 5-8 3FG
Final Grade: C+
Up next: Davis Bertans