Not playing much this season, Trail Blazers forward Jake Layman has seen his fair share of sitting on the bench. The forward has only appeared in 20 of Portland’s 48 games this year, and has averaged a minimal 6.1 minutes per game. This role is similar to one Pat Connaughton shared last season before breaking out this year.
With this amount of time sitting, Layman has learned about how to act on the bench. And he knows to not sit next to “super-sweaty” Noah Vonleh, as Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report dishes on bench life from players:
”You want to stay clear of the super-sweaty guys,” Layman says. “Noah’s one of them.”
Layman isn’t alone in this thinking. Most players try to steer clear of larger teammates and their sweaty, long limbs. Big men also take up more room in what’s already a tight setup. Chairs are only between 18 and 19.5 inches wide, despite the fact they’re propping up some of the world’s tallest men.
”Some guys like to be all wide and s--t, but you let them know, ‘Hey, I need space,’” [Ed] Davis says.
Ed Davis has maintained a sixth-man role for most of his seven years in the league. That kind of longevity makes him one of Portland’s most experienced players, giving him a leg up on seat selection, but he knows when it’s time to move over for Damian Lillard:
Take Ed Davis’ predicament. At 28, he’s the Portland Trail Blazers’ second-oldest player. Unlike most of his peers, Davis always preferred the seat closest to the assistant coaches.
”You can discuss coverages, things like that,” Davis says.
There’s only one problem: Damian Lillard, the Blazers’ franchise point guard, prefers that seat, too. He’s a year younger than Davis and played two fewer NBA seasons. Yet Davis understands what’s required of him when he’s on the bench and Lillard comes out of the game.
”I slide over,” he said.
Even Kyle O’Quinn, a former teammate of Maurice Harkless with the Orlando Magic, revealed bench games he and Harkless played to keep entertained:
Then there are the players who develop more creative ways to combat the boredom. O’Quinn says while playing for the Orlando Magic he and former teammate Maurice Harkless would see who could feign stretching for the longest or dare each other to stand for six minutes straight.
”You get a feel for what’s going on in the game, but it’s hard sitting on the bench for a long period of time,” O’Quinn, a career reserve who’s never averaged more than 17.2 minutes per contest, says.
You can read more of Weitzman’s piece here.