(1) The group of players on a basketball team who do not start the game but may come into the game as a substitution. (2) The physical location players occupy when they are not on the basketball court (i.e. chairs).
The bench is a vital part of any basketball team and regularly contributes to the game in a number of different capacities. The primary function of bench players is to provide starting players with rest, and to keep the pace of the game consistent as they come in fresh and ready to play. Most teams will have specific bench players as initial substitutions by position (e.g. a point guard for a point guard). As starters do not always play well every game, bench players will sometimes help make up the difference in points scored or defense-the bench is a key part of strategy for basketball coaches, as they are able to use a larger stable of players for specific match-ups against opponents. In the NBA teams may have up to 7 players on the bench (12 man active roster with 5 starters).