Why is there a negative connotation on coming off the bench in basketball?

Carmelo Anthony basketball

Being in the starting lineup was always a goal for every kid growing up. Players that started were always looked at as the best players on the team. In most instances, that is true however there are some times where that’s not the case. For some reason, there’s a negative connotation on coming off the bench in the sport of basketball and I don’t know why.

The latest example is Carmelo Anthony. Before going to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a reporter questioned if he was willing to come off the bench and he laughed it off.

It was brought up again at the end of the year and Anthony was very adamant about not coming off the bench.

Anthony feels that he still has a lot left in the tank and can still be a productive player and I agree. It seems that he feels slighted by being asked to come off the bench and I’m not sure why.

Coming off the bench doesn’t make you any less of a player. The sport of basketball is a team game and all about players fulfilling a role. In some instances, players are more productive and offer more to the team when they come off the bench.

We’ve seen some of the best bench players in the NBA in recent years. Names like Jamal Crawford, James Harden, and Manu Ginobili have been key guys in the role player discussion. Crawford is 18 years in and is still making waves. Harden elevated himself from the role guy to the number one guy and Ginobili was one of the first guys that I remember who made coming off the bench cool.

There’s a bad stigma around bench players when there shouldn’t be. There are players that come off the bench because of their talent level but there are others who come off the bench because they’re a better fit for that role. When you have a guy who can score and get his own bucket similar to Anthony, it makes sense to bring him off the bench when you have so much talent in the starting lineup. Ginobili was that for the Spurs for years. He had more than enough talent to start however, he felt along with the organization that it was better for him to come off the bench and provide a spark for that second unit.

It’s not all about position and where and when you play but more importantly about impact. What makes great players off the bench great is that they come in the game and immediately affect the outcome. There’s a negative connotation on coming off of the bench when there shouldn’t be. As long as a player has an impact on the game when they touch the floor then they won’t go unnoticed.


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