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What are bench points in basketball?

what are bench points in basketball

In basketball, “bench points” refer to the total points scored by players who start the game as substitutes rather than as part of the starting lineup. These points are crucial indicators of a team’s depth and can often be the difference between winning and losing a game.

How Bench Points Are Calculated

  1. Identify the Substitutes:

Bench points are calculated by identifying the players who were substitutes during a game. These players enter the game after the initial starting lineup has been set.

  1. Record Individual Scores:

Once the substitutes have been identified, the points they score individually throughout the game are recorded.

  1. Sum the Points:

The total points scored by all substitute players are then summed up. This final number represents the bench points for that particular game.

  1. Special Considerations:

If a player scores points both as a starter and as a substitute, only the points scored while on the bench are counted towards the points.

Importance of Bench Points

Bench points are vital in basketball for several reasons:

  • Game Outcomes:

The ability of a team’s bench to contribute significantly can be a game-changer. A strong bench can keep the team competitive even when the starters are resting.

  • Player Fatigue:

Influential bench players allow starters to rest without sacrificing performance, reducing fatigue and the risk of injury.

  • Strategic Flexibility:

Coaches can deploy different strategies knowing they have reliable bench strength to support various game scenarios.

Role and Contribution of Bench Players

Bench players, often referred to as the “second unit,” play a crucial role:

  • Energy Boost:

Bench players often bring fresh energy and can change the game’s pace.

  • Defensive and Offensive Support:

They provide essential defensive stops and scoring bursts that can shift momentum.

  • Specialist Roles:

Bench players might be specialists, such as sharpshooters or defensive stoppers, who excel in specific situations.

Strategies for Utilizing Bench Strength

  • Rotation Management:

Effective management of player rotations ensures that bench players are utilized to maximize their strengths while providing rest for starters.

  • Match-Up Exploitation:

Coaches can exploit match-ups by using well-suited bench players to counter specific opponents.

  • Balanced Scoring:

A balanced scoring approach that involves multiple bench players can make it harder for opponents to defend.

Examples of Crucial Bench Performances

  • 6th Man of the Year Award Winners:

Players like Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford, who have won the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year award, exemplify a strong bench player’s impact. Their scoring ability off the bench often changes the dynamics of games.

Statistics and Analyzing the Significance of Bench Points

  • Impact on Wins:

Teams with higher bench points often correlate with better win-loss records. The depth provided by a strong bench is invaluable over a grueling season.

  • Game-to-Game Variability:

Bench points can vary significantly from game to game, influencing strategies and outcomes. Analyzing these trends can provide insights into a team’s overall performance and areas needing improvement.


What are bench points in basketball?

Bench points are scored by players who do not start in the initial lineup but come off the bench as substitutes during a game.

Why are bench points important?

Bench points are critical as they reflect the depth of a team. A strong bench can maintain or extend a lead when starters are resting, contributing significantly to game outcomes and overall team performance.

How are bench points calculated?

Bench points are calculated by summing up the points scored by all substitute players during a game. Only the points scored while they are on the bench are included in the calculation.

Do bench points count towards a player’s official statistics?

Yes, bench points count towards a player’s official statistics but are categorized explicitly as points scored by substitutes, not starters.

Can a player contribute to bench and starter points in the same game?

If players start on the bench, they contribute to bench points. If they later become part of the starting lineup or replace a starter during the same game, points scored as a starter are separate and not included in the bench points tally.

How do coaches utilize bench points strategically?

Coaches use bench points to manage player rotations effectively, ensuring starters get necessary rest without compromising performance. They also exploit match-ups and use bench specialists to gain tactical advantages.

Which players are known for their bench contributions?

Notable players known for their bench contributions include Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford, both multiple recipients of the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year award, highlighting their impact coming off the bench.

How can strong bench performance affect a team’s season?

A strong bench performance can enhance a team’s win-loss record, provide strategic flexibility, reduce starter fatigue, and ensure sustained performance throughout the season.

What is the significance of having a balanced scoring approach involving bench players?

A balanced scoring approach involving bench players makes it more challenging for opponents to defend, as multiple players contributing to the score can create unpredictable and dynamic offensive threats.

How do bench points influence game-to-game strategies?

Variability in bench points from game to game can influence strategies by dictating how coaches might deploy their bench players, adjust rotations, and plan for different opponents based on bench performance trends.


Benchmarks are more than just a metric—they are a testament to a team’s depth, strategy, and adaptability. In many cases, the contributions of bench players can be the decisive factors that turn the tide in close games. Understanding and leveraging bench strength effectively can provide a significant competitive advantage, making it a critical aspect of basketball strategy.

By emphasizing the role of bench points and integrating them into broader team strategies, teams can enhance their performance and achieve tremendous success.s.

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