As if dealing with injuries to two All-Stars is not enough, Matt Bonner is on a shooting slump.
It's not a secret that his ability to stretch the floor is an important part of the San Antonio Spurs' offense and it could be argued this is one of his better season as a Spur as his shooting accuracy has improved steadily for the most part of the season until this month.
|Month||Field Goal %||3PT Field Goal %|
Bonner's outside shooting will be crucial for the Spurs towards the end of the regular season especially with Tim Duncan being sidelined due to a sprained ankle injury. While Bonner's offensive production may not be the gauge of the Spurs' success he has certainly helped the team win some ball games.
Here are some interesting numbers.
The Spurs are:
14 - 0 when he scores 11 points or more.
11 - 0 when he makes three or more 3-pointers.
11 - 0 when he makes five or more field goals.
25 - 2 when he shoots 42.9% or better from beyond the arc.
25 - 2 when he has four or more rebounds.
12 -1 when he attempts five or more 3-pointers and
29 -3 when he shoots 42.7% or better from the field.
The sudden decline in Bonner's shooting percentage should be a cause for concern for the Spurs because he has history of disappearing acts in the post-season.
Could he be feeling the pressure again, thinking that the playoffs is just around the corner?
In 2008-09 regular season, he averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds on 49.6 percent field goal shooting and 44.0 percent from the 3-point line. In five playoff games that year, his numbers plummeted to 3.0 points and 3.2 rebounds on 21.7 percent shooting from the floor, including 23.1 percent from behind the arc.
Last season, Bonner averaged 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds on 44.6 percent field goal shooting and 39 percent from the 3-point area in 65 regular season games. And in 10 playoff games, his numbers declined a bit as he averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds on 43.2 percent shooting from the floor, including 37 percent from beyond the arc.
In 57 regular season games this year, he is averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds on 47.9 percent field goal shooting and 48.0 percent from the 3-point line. Will he once again disappear in the post-season? If we consider his shooting percentage for the month of March, things are not looking good.
Nonetheless, since the start of the season he has steadily played well and gradually improve his shooting despite suffering an injury that caused him to miss some games earlier in the season. But with the playoffs fast approaching, the sudden drop in his shooting accuracy could be a case of lack of self confidence or is it just the law of averages catching up with Bonner?
Whatever the reason behind his recent shooting slump, we still have to give Bonner some credit for consistently attempting open shots. Gone are the days where coach Popovich has to beg or yell at him just to take the open jumper and for that he gets some reward.
Take for example his perfomance against the Portland Trail Blazers, Bonner went 100 percent from the field, including 2-of-2 from behind the arc good for eight points and four rebounds in 18 minutes of action as he almost helped the Spurs to win the game.
Could this be a sign of things to come? His latest performance against the Memphis Grizzlies where he scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field, including 1-of-4 from behind the arc, tells us otherwise.
However, Bonner is a veteran and is one of the best shooters in the league. Despite his recent struggles, his 48.0 percent from the 3-point line remains an NBA best. He may not be a 'big hand' as some would say, but if he can shoot the ball in playoffs, the way he did it for the better part of the regular season; that would be make a lot of a difference for the Spurs.
What do you think? How important is Bonner's outside shooting in the playoffs? Will he be able to deliver this time? Send us your thoughts.
He's the least capable spur to put the ball on the floor. I cringe every time he does it. Will he disappear in the playoffs again. Wonder what we could get for him & RJ in the off season? They both need to go. RJ totally disappeared against the blazers, wearing George out, just like he does Manu & Tony. Who else in the league would give $8 mil for this guy?
@croc I know RJ has disappeared lately, but if the coaches can somehow get him to play the way he was at the beginning of the season, he will definitely help us in the playoffs. I'm not sure what happened to him, but it just seemed like he stopped doing all the little things that got people talking about most-improved earlier in the year. I know I get angry at RJ a lot, but I still think he can help us! I don't think we'll get much for him and Bonner in the off-season, especially if they don't perform well in the playoffs. I think it will hurt their value. =(
@croc I agree. They need to go. They cannot build their confidence. They DO disappear. Gary and Steve have more guts than these two.
I hope Matty gets his confidence back up. As much as it pains me to see him brick, i'm glad he's still trying. Hopefully he'll shoot himself out of his slump soon. =) Go Spurs Go!!!!
Matt Bonner's value can't be underestimated, when he's on! The Spurs are a tougher to beat. Go Spurs Go!
Bonner's outside shooting will be important for the Spurs in the playoffs for sure. I hope the Big three gets healthy soon!
Great article, I did not know that Bonner actually shoots that well. I focused so much on Gary Neal and the recently on Steve Novak as the Spurs' most consistent outside shooters but Bonner is having a great season. He is on a slump but that's ok, he has time to get his shooting touch in the playoffs where the stakes are higher.
We need the Bonner to get going to the playoffs I hope his improvement in the playoffs is trend like what @RG8907 mentioned. Go Spurs Go!
If the Red Rocket shoots like in the month of February FG's: 54.5% 3pt FG's:57.7%, the Spurs maybe a lock for a fifth NBA title.
I agree Jeff! Bonner's shooting will be important for the Spurs. This is the first post-season for Novak and Neal with the team and If Bonner, Neal and Novak shoots well in the post season, I will not be surprised if the Spurs wins it all.
Of all playoffs, Bonner HAS to be the Bonner we see in the reg season and not the one that fizzles out in the playoffs
Bonner will be fine the playoffs I believe he has more confidence in his shot at this point of his career.
The Spurs' system requires good outside shooters to be more effective, Matt Bonner has to shoot at least 40% from the field for the opposing teams to respect his shot, If he shoot's poorer than that, the defense can focused on clogging down the middle and that will be tough for the Spurs. Good thing we have Novak and Neal this season.
The Spurs have more shooters this time, they have Gary Neal and Novak so there should be less pressure on Bonner. I believe he will get back his shooting touch going into the playoffs and might play his best post season with the Spurs.
well, as mentioned, surprisingly, he is still leading the league in 3-point field goal percentage. if there's a good side to this, it's that his was able to push up his scoring and stats a little bit from the '09 playoffs to the '10 playoffs, so maybe that can be a trend. but anyways, i haven't given up on Bonner yet.
@RG8907 Good point! That gives up hope the Red Rocket will play better in the playoffs this time around. I'm confident that trend continues because we have other shooter's that we can rely on when Bonner isn't making his shots. He will relax in time and get back his shooting touch because of less pressure
Bonner's 3-pt shooting will be very crucial for the Spurs in the playoffs, if he can hit the open jumpers the Spurs will be harder to defend.