Matt Bonner’s fourth season began and ended like his last four years in the rotation, solid but unspectacular play and struggle in the postseason.
During the regular season, Bonner was one of the NBA‘s best three-point marksmen, making three pointers at a 42 percent clip, number two among power forwards. That’s the only reason he is of any use to the San Antonio Spurs. Like most of Gregg Popovich’s three-point shooters, Bonner is adept at making corner threes, shooting 47 percent of them.
If you’re not making threes, then what: More times than not, Bonner has been a liability. First let’s start with the postseason, where Bonner was a non factor yet again. Bonner was beyond pathetic, averaging just 2.4 points per game. He was out there to spread the floor to draw opposing big-men from the paint. But Bonner lost all confidence in the playoffs and his slow shooting release made it easy for defenders to close out on him.
This isn’t new territory for Bonner, opponents made sticking with Bonner a major point of emphasis in their game plan because he got none of his customary open looks. If he’s not hitting his shots, there is no reason for him to be out there on the floor because he is such a liability everywhere else.
Making matters worse, opposing teams make it a point to attack Bonner defensively. Bonner neither has the size nor the quickness to keep average big-men from torching him.
What to expect: It looks like Bonner will start the season as the Spurs fourth big. In typical season games, Bonner is a huge asset but that’s largely due to the lack of game planning by the opposition. It just doesn’t work in the playoffs because teams have time to game plan for him. On any other team in the league, Bonner would be a fifth big because of his defensive limitations.
It will be a successful for Bonner if he can knock down at least 40 percent of his three-pointers while contributing in the postseason.