What Is A Bench Point In Basketball?

Jalen Rose

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Bench Point In Basketball

In the world of basketball, the spotlight often shines on the starting lineup and the star players who dominate the headlines. However, there is a crucial element to a team’s success that often goes unnoticed—the bench players. 

These unsung heroes play a significant role in shaping the outcome of a game. One important aspect of their contribution is bench points. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of bench points in basketball, exploring what they mean, their significance, and how they can impact a team’s performance.

What is a Bench Point in Basketball

In the context of basketball, “bench scoring” refers to the total number of points scored by the players who come off the bench, meaning the players who are substitutes and not part of the starting lineup. The bench players are typically referred to as the “bench” or “second unit.”

In a basketball game, teams usually have a set number of players who start the game as the starting lineup. These players are considered to be the team’s best or most important players and are typically on the court at the beginning of the game. 

However, throughout the course of the game, the coach may make substitutions and bring in players from the bench to give the starters a rest or to provide a different skill set.

Bench scoring is an important statistic because it measures the contribution of the non-starters to the team’s overall point production. 

A strong bench-scoring performance can be a significant factor in a team’s success, as it provides depth and helps maintain scoring output even when the starters are off the court. 

It indicates the effectiveness of the bench players in terms of their offensive contributions and their ability to provide a spark for the team.

How to Score a Bench Point in Basketball?

Score a Bench Point in Basketball

To score a bench in basketball means to evaluate or assess the performance of the bench players in terms of their contributions to the team’s success. Here’s an elaboration on how to score a bench in basketball:

Points scored

The most obvious aspect of bench scoring is the number of points the bench players score during a game. This can be measured by tracking the total points scored by the players who come off the bench. 

It gives an indication of their offensive output and ability to contribute to the team’s overall scoring.

Scoring efficiency

It’s not just about the number of points scored, but also how efficiently the bench players score. This can be evaluated by looking at their shooting percentages, such as field goal percentage (FG%), three-point percentage (3P%), and free throw percentage (FT%). 

A high shooting percentage indicates that the bench players are making the most of their scoring opportunities and can be relied upon to convert their shots.

Time on the court

Another factor to consider when scoring a bench is the amount of playing time the bench players receive. It’s important to assess how productive they are in the time they are given. 

This can be evaluated by calculating their points per minute (PPM) or points per possession (PPP). A high PPM or PPP suggests that the bench players are making an impact on the game in a limited amount of time.

Role and impact

Scoring a bench should also take into account the specific roles and contributions of the bench players. Some bench players may specialize in certain areas, such as being a defensive stopper, a three-point shooter, or an energy player who provides a spark off the bench. 

Evaluating their impact beyond just scoring can include factors like rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and overall floor presence.

Plus/minus rating

The plus/minus rating is a statistic that measures the point differential when a player is on the court. 

It indicates whether the team outscored or was outscored by the opposition during that player’s time on the court. A positive plus/minus rating for bench players suggests that they are making a positive impact and contributing to the team’s success while on the court.

Team performance

Finally, scoring a bench should also consider the overall performance of the team when the bench players are in the game. 

It’s essential to evaluate how the team performs when the starters are resting and the bench players are on the court. This includes looking at the team’s offensive and defensive efficiency, ball movement, and overall cohesion with the bench players on the floor.

By considering these factors, coaches, analysts, and fans can assess the scoring and overall impact of bench players in basketball. 

It provides insight into the depth and strength of a team and helps determine the effectiveness of the bench unit in contributing to the team’s success.

Significance of Bench Points in Basketball

Significance of Bench Points in Basketball

The significance of bench points in basketball is multifaceted and can have a profound impact on a team’s success. Here are some key reasons why bench points are significant:

Offensive Production

Bench points provide an additional source of scoring for a team. In a fast-paced and physically demanding sport like basketball, having reliable scorers coming off the bench can alleviate the scoring burden on the starters. 

If the bench players can contribute a significant number of points, it can help maintain or increase the team’s scoring output when the starters are resting or struggling to score.

Depth and Versatility

A team with a productive bench that can contribute points brings depth and versatility to their lineup. It allows the coach to rotate players, manage fatigue, and exploit matchups more effectively. 

Different bench players may possess diverse skill sets, such as shooting, rebounding, or playmaking, providing strategic options and forcing opponents to adjust their defensive strategies.

Momentum and Energy

Bench players can inject fresh energy and enthusiasm into a game. When they enter the court and contribute points, it can provide a spark for the entire team, motivating both the players on the floor and the crowd. 

A bench that consistently provides a scoring lift can shift the momentum of a game, helping the team make comebacks or extend leads.

Injury and Foul Trouble

Injury and Foul Trouble

Basketball games often involve unforeseen circumstances, such as injuries or players getting into foul trouble. When starters are unavailable or limited due to these situations, the bench becomes crucial. 

Bench players who can step up and score effectively ensure that the team can continue to compete at a high level and maintain their offensive output.

Team Chemistry and Cohesion

Bench players who contribute points help foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. They create a cohesive unit where players trust and rely on each other. 

When bench players are rewarded for their scoring efforts, it builds confidence, enhances team chemistry, and strengthens the overall bond within the team.

Strategic Flexibility

Teams with a strong bench-scoring presence can adjust their game plan more easily. Coaches can employ different lineup combinations and make substitutions based on specific situations, opponent strategies, or game flow. 

The ability to deploy effective bench players allows teams to adapt their tactics and exploit favorable matchups.

Rest and Preservation

Lastly, bench points allow starters to get much-needed rest during games. Basketball seasons can be grueling, and managing player minutes is crucial to prevent injuries and maintain peak performance. 

When the bench can score efficiently, it reduces the reliance on the starters, enabling them to rest without compromising the team’s offensive production.

Bench points play a vital role in basketball by providing scoring depth, energy, flexibility, and strategic advantages. They contribute to a team’s overall success by ensuring offensive continuity, maintaining competitiveness in adverse situations, and enhancing team chemistry.

History of Bench Point in Basketball

The history of bench scoring in basketball is closely tied to the evolution of the sport itself. Here’s an overview of how bench scoring has evolved over time:

Early Years (Late 19th Century – Early 20th Century)

During the early years of basketball, the game was predominantly played with limited substitutions. 

Teams often had a small number of players who played the entire game, and the concept of a dedicated bench or substitutes was not prevalent. Bench scoring as a distinct statistic was not tracked or emphasized during this era.

Introduction of Substitutions (1930s – 1950s)

Introduction of Substitutions (1930s - 1950s)

In the 1930s, the rules of basketball were modified to allow for player substitutions. This led to the emergence of dedicated bench players who would relieve the starters during the course of a game. 

However, substitutions were limited and often strategic, with teams primarily relying on a small number of substitutes.

Sixth Man Role (1960s – Present)

In the 1960s, the concept of the “sixth man” gained popularity. The sixth man refers to a bench player who provides a significant scoring impact and energy off the bench. 

This role became increasingly recognized and valued as coaches began to appreciate the importance of having a strong bench to maintain scoring output and provide depth.

Increased Emphasis on Bench Production (1980s – Present)

In the 1980s and beyond, there has been a greater emphasis on bench scoring and overall bench production. As teams became more aware of the importance of depth and rotation, the role of bench players expanded. 

Coaches began to focus on building strong bench units that could contribute offensively, defensively, and in terms of energy and chemistry on the court.

Modern Era and Statistical Tracking

In recent years, with the advancements in statistical tracking and analytics, bench scoring has become a recognized and measured statistic. 

The introduction of advanced metrics has allowed teams and analysts to delve deeper into the impact of bench players and their scoring contributions. Bench scoring is now tracked and evaluated as an essential component of a team’s success.

The history of bench scoring in basketball reflects the growing recognition of the importance of bench players in contributing to a team’s overall performance. 

From limited substitutions to specialized roles and statistical tracking, the evolution of the game has shaped the way bench scoring is valued and evaluated in the modern era.

List of the Players with the Most Number of Bench Points in Basketball

Here’s a table listing some of the players with the most number of bench points in basketball history. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and represents a selection of notable players known for their scoring prowess off the bench:

PlayerPoints off the Bench
Jamal Crawford11,014
Manu Ginobili10,285
Dell Curry9,183
Lou Williams8,851
J.R. Smith8,525
Detlef Schrempf8,352
Jason Terry7,970
Kevin McHale7,791
John Havlicek7,634
Vinnie Johnson7,317
Ricky Pierce7,300
Michael Cooper7,280
Terry Cummings7,224
Eddie Johnson6,834
Andre Miller6,789
Nick Van Exel6,742
Clifford Robinson6,628
Toni Kukoč6,562
Leandro Barbosa6,523
Manu Bolivar6,442


What are bench points in basketball?

Bench points refer to the total number of points scored by players who come off the bench, meaning they are substitutes and not part of the starting lineup. It measures the offensive output and scoring contributions of the non-starters.

Why are bench points important?

Bench points are crucial for several reasons. They provide additional scoring options for a team, relieve the scoring burden on the starters, maintain offensive output when key players rest, inject energy and momentum into a game, and enhance the team’s overall depth and versatility.

How do bench points affect team chemistry?

When bench players contribute points, it fosters a sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and trust within the team. It strengthens the bond among players and creates a cohesive unit where everyone feels valued and involved, ultimately enhancing team chemistry on and off the court.

Can bench points impact a team’s strategy?

Absolutely. A strong bench-scoring presence allows coaches to make strategic adjustments. They can deploy different lineup combinations, exploit favorable matchups, manage player minutes effectively, and adapt game plans based on the production and performance of bench players.

Who are some notable players known for their bench scoring?

Basketball history is adorned with remarkable players who made a significant impact coming off the bench. Some notable names include Jamal Crawford, Manu Ginobili, Lou Williams, Dell Curry, and J.R. Smith. These players exemplify the value of bench scoring and the difference it can make for a team.

End Call

While the starting lineup often takes the spotlight, bench points play a crucial role in basketball. They represent the scoring output and contributions of the non-starters, providing additional offensive firepower and depth to a team. 

Benchmarks impact team chemistry, strategic flexibility, and overall success. Recognizing the importance of these contributions not only highlights the significance of the bench players but also gives us a deeper appreciation for the complexity and beauty of the game. 

So, the next time you watch a basketball game, keep an eye on the bench players—they might just be the ones who turn the tide and secure victory for their team. Best wishes.

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Jalen Rose

I am a sports analyst in USA and I have been writing about sports for more than a decade. My career started with writing about the NBA for my school newspaper. After that, I became the Sports Editor of my college paper, then the managing editor of my university’s official website. After graduating from college, I started working as an Assistant Sports Editor at the local newspaper in Atlanta. per. I've been there ever since and have had many opportunities to write about different aspects of sports journalism and interact with other writers and editors from all over the world. LinkedIn

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