Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

By Mark Strotman | | 6 mins

5 NBA Benches That Could Make Huge Impact on 2020 Playoffs

5 NBA Benches That Could Make Huge Impact on 2020 Playoffs

Most NBA seasons, rotations tighten up and starters play huge minutes down the stretch and into the postseason. Well, 2020, as we all know, will not be like most seasons – or any season, for that matter. The 22 teams in “the bubble” in Orlando will need to shake off some rust and conditioning could be a struggle. So benches will be more important for NBA futures betting considerations in 2020, perhaps more than ever.

Whether it’s logging extra minutes for tired starters or filling in for a starter who unexpectedly tests positive for COVID-19, teams will need deep benches, something bettors considering NBA playoff odds must keep in mind. We think these five bench units could make a huge impact.


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Clippers Are Top Of The Class

Any NBA betting conversation of bench units begins with the Clippers, whose NBA title odds are +333 at BetMGM. They have arguably the top two reserves in the league in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, who should finish second and third, respectively, in Sixth Man of the Year voting. They’re reserves in name only, as they constantly close out games.

But there’s more to the Clippers bench, including JaMychal Green, newcomer Reggie Jackson and Mo Harkless, who moved to the bench after the Marcus Morris trade. They’re the league’s only team that could legitimately go 10 players deep and both Williams and Harrell would start on the majority of NBA teams.

They can easily manage depth concerns, much like they did with Kawhi Leonard (51 games) resting some nights and Paul George (42 games) banged up. It’s no surprise they lead the NBA in bench scoring (51.5 points per game). Grab the Clippers at BetMGM.

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Heat Have Shooters Galore

Shooters, shooters, and shooters for the Heat, a +3000 title prop at Unibet. Consider: Just 13 reserves in the NBA are averaging 2.0 3-pointers on 37% or shooting from deep, and three are on Miami’s bench – Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro and Jae Crowder. Andre Iguodala has been a bright spot since joining the team and gives the Heat a critical veteran presence with title experience. Derrick Jones and Kelly Olynyk give coach Erik Spoelstra versatile options in the frontcourt.


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This is an incredibly balanced unit. Despite being just 14th in bench minutes, Miami’s reserves are sixth in assists, seventh in points, second in 3-pointers made, and 10th in plus-minus. Adding Crowder and Iguodala will do wonders for the Heat’s depth and could help them limit Jimmy Butler’s minutes when possible to have him ready for a deep postseason run. Pat Riley sure knows how to build ‘em. Bet on the Heat with Unibet to win the NBA Finals.

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Grizzlies Quietly Strong

Memphis’ reserves have switched plenty this season – 10 players have started for the Grizzlies and 16 players have come off the bench – but their current crop is talented. Tyus Jones is one of the league’s more efficient reserve guards and has improved his 3-point shooting this season. Brandon Clarke has worked himself into the all-rookie conversation by shooting a ridiculous 62.3% on more than 8 attempts per game while playing both forward positions.

Josh Jackson has had his off-court (and on-court) troubles but may have found a home in Memphis. The Grizzlies, +20000 to win the championship with FOX Bet, are +5.8 with him on the floor, and they could do worse at the end of the rotation than 12-year veteran Anthony Tolliver, who was signed shortly before the shutdown.


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The Grizzlies lead all bench units in assists, steals, and field goal percentage, and are 12th in net rating (+0.2). Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson lead the way, but this is a deep group looking to fend off Zion Williamson and the Pelicans (plus other teams) for the No. 8 seed in the West. Take a flier on the Grizzlies with FOX Bet.

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Bucks Efficient As Ever

Milwaukee’s bench has a plus-minus of +2.6 and, while the names may not be as high profile, is just as deep as the Clippers’ bench (+2.5). Of course, they’re helped out by playing a majority of their minutes with some starters, who have an incredible NBA-best plus-minus of +8.7. But the reserves take advantage of their minutes and are solid on their own for the Bucks, a +250 co-title co-favorite at PointsBet.

George Hill leads the league in 3-point FG% (48% on 2.9 attempts), plays solid defense and is 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s complemented by Donte DiVincenzo, who really came into his own prior to the shutdown. Kyle Korver is as reliable a 3-point shooter as there is, while Robin Lopez and February acquisition Marvin Williams are a nice inside-out combination. Coach Mike Budenholzer has an embarrassment of options at his disposal. Back the Bucks at PointsBet.

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Nuggets Rock Solid Everywhere

No one jumps off the page – their leading scorer off the bench is Monte Morris at 8.4 points per game – but the Nuggets (a +3000 title bet with DraftKings ) are balanced. Morris is an excellent floor general, Torrey Craig and P.J. Dozier provide wing depth, and Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee are starter-level bigs. Denver is fifth in bench FG%, seventh in bench 3FG% and eighth best in bench turnovers. Again, nothing flashy, but they get the job done to balance an elite starting five.

There are two wild cards in the mix here, too. Rookie Michael Porter Jr. put together a really impressive stretch in January, averaging 14.7 points and 9.0 rebounds over a 10-game stretch when the Nuggets were shorthanded. He could really thrive if a Nuggets frontcourt member had to miss time. The same goes for Bol Bol, who was impressive in Denver’s exhibition opener with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Their progress could vault Denver’s bench from good to great. Take the Nuggets at DraftKings.

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About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports.