When I played basketball my freshman year in high school, there was one line that my coach would always say. ‘A team is only as strong as its bench.’ Now this may not be entirely true, especially at that level, but there is some truth to it. The teams that won the past two championships were very deep. The 2014 Spurs put on a passing and shooting clinic with their bench between Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Matt Bonner, and Marco Bellineli, all of whom came off the bench. This past year the Golden State Warriors bench was just as great if not better. Festus Ezeli played big minutes. He was the player to come in for Golden State in game one overtime and helped seal the deal for the Warriors. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa both did a great job controlling the game when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson came out. David Lee went from being a sparingly used reserve to the Warriors most played big man besides the 6’7″ Draymond Green. However no bench player made a bigger impact than NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. He came off the bench into the starting lineup, and won the aforementioned NBA Finals MVP award. Bench players make an impact, and not chosing the right ones can be the difference between being done in June and being done in April.
Stats from basketball-reference.com and ESPN