On the loss of Manu Ginobili

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Manu Ginobili is the Spurs’ only certain All-Star. He is, still, the third best shooting guard in the NBA. And some nights, he’s much better than that. He is San Antonio’s best player.

In last night’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves the Spurs also lost Manu Ginobili to a broken bone in his left hand. Initial indicators suggest he will miss 4-6 weeks of basketball. Hopefully, upon further examination, the news is not worse.

The Spurs will look to Tony Parker, James Anderson, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal, and Richard Jefferson to assume Ginobili’s production on offense and defense, but he’s a special player and it’s simply impossible to reproduce Ginobili. Nevertheless, San Antonio has been stockpiling young talent on the wing for two seasons, and if there is a silver lining in this injury, it’s that those players will have an opportunity to blossom in his absence.

Of special concern to the Spurs is Ginobili’s role as their best distributor. DeJuan Blair, in particular, plays much better basketball when he is working the screen and roll with Ginobili. Blair is off to a very good start to the season, and Ginobili’s activity as a passer is a big part of Blair’s success. In losing Ginobili, do the Spurs lose a little bit of Blair too?

In the past, the Spurs have always dealt with an injury to one of their core of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili by getting a burst of great production from one or both of the others. I’m not sure they can do that this season. There is great risk in demanding too much of Duncan or Parker in the early weeks of this season’s condensed schedule. Duncan, in particular, would not withstand heavy minutes on short rest. This is not to say Duncan is an automatic injury—it’s more of a comment about his ability to play well on limited rest and what it would mean for his body in advance of the postseason.

Big picture, then. The Spurs will be fortunate to play .500 basketball without Ginobili. If the Spurs play much worse than .500 in Ginobili’s absence, they could struggle to secure a playoff seed, even with a late season push, upon his return.

Strange times, San Antonio.

  • Anonymous

    1) Businessmen sometimes take an upfront calculated loss in order to help secure success for the future.

    2) Teams without at least two stars usually don’t make playoffs.

    3) Spurs’ current “stars” are diminishing.

    4) Top free agent “stars” probably won’t come play in San Antonio.

    5) No “top talent” in the future = no playoffs = no profit.

    Hence, Talent does = profitability if managed properly.

  • Justin-ray

    Stop the crying! Manu will be back in a month with fresh legs and a will to win. People on here are bad excuses for fans

  • Justin-ray

    The last time i checked…. nothing great in life comes easy.

  • Anonymous

    Both of your scenarios are unrealistic. Your range is more like picks 8 – 22.
    There might be a potential all-star wing in that range if the guy overcomes his flaws (say Austin Rivers or Terrance Jones), but you’re more likely getting a nice role-player not unlike the guys we already have in Anderson, KL, Splitter, Blair (

    Not that exciting, really.

  • Bob

    Pop didn’t happen when they lost 6 straight. You hope he will actually change his gameplan since he can’t rely on Ginobili. Last year when they went on the losing streak he said it was too late to change what they were doing but a coach’s job is to adjust to personnel and injuries. We’ve seen how well the RJ experiment has gone. Pop has a reduced a good slashing player to a standstill shooter. He hasn’t done any real coaching in a while. It’s the all about the system and corporate knowledge.

  • Bob

    I can’t fault PJ. Taking a team that is good over the top is much harder than making a team of scrubs competitive. There is a certain amount of talent you need to win it all and no coaching can make up for that.

  • Anonymous

    From what I’ve seen, Pop is one of the best at drawing up plays during timeouts. Nobody saw the Spurs offense being what it was last season, from a defensive coach. During their championship runs the won by running, and they won in the halfcourt outplaying their opposition at their own game whether PHX or DET. I won’t defend Pop against criticism regarding poor roster building, but despite his rotations, his in-game coaching pregame preparation is elite. Would I prefer Thibodeau? Yes, but I prefer their roster (apart from Boozer) as well. After that, not many better coaches out there.

  • Justin-ray

    Tank lmao. Pxxies

  • Francesco

    Tanking a season doesn’t mean you tell players to lose on purpose: what you do, like I humbly suggested, is play the rest of the season without our big 3. As hard as the young guys play, as good as coach Pop is, the losing wll take care of itself. NO HARM DONE TO OUR CORPORATE CULTURE.

    Something else we could do is have Pop skip some games to go attend college games to better assess the various prospects value ans spurability.

    Someone has stated that by advocating tanking I am not a fan.
    I could say the same about those who’d rather witness a slow and painful death, AS WE HAVE WITNESSED FOR THE LAST 4 SEASONS.
    But then again, everyone is entitled to his own opinion.

    Someone has mentioned Dallas, which is an interesting case study.
    They won and they were smart enough to know they wouldn’t repeat, so they avoided re-signing the free-agents and started thinking about next season. That they parted with Chandler was a clear signal to the rest of the team (Kidd, Nowitsky, Terry) that management gave up on the season.
    Then they acquired Odom, which is puzzling unless you see as a move which doesn’t make a lot of difference in the win column and cap for next year, yet gives the veterans the right signal…
     

  • Anonymous

    If you read what I’ve posted, you’ll see that all I’m saying is the Spurs aren’t bad enough to have lottery-winning odds. With or without MG, I’ve posted my uncertainty of whether the Spurs make the playoffs due to inevitable injuries and a compressed schedule. I predicted OKC vs LAL in the western finals, and expressed uncertainty of lower seedings. I don’t know know how HOU, GSW, and NOH will finish in the west… but, REGARDLESS, the Spurs are NOT a bottom-feeding team yet. You can stop dreaming of Davis or Drummond! DET is horrendous. WAS, NJ, CLE, TOR, SAC and CHA are all in “better” position to win for losing. TOR has already admitted they are tanking, and we all know CHA is as well after trading everyone the last 2 years.

  • Justin-ray

    Wow lmao

  • Justin-ray

    People should really think before they type

  • Bry

    Tyler is completely right. And to second his argument, the Spurs would be doing something that idiotic and shameful all in order to MAYBE get a top ten lottery pick, that MAYBE will become a solid player?! And that makes sense to you people?! “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills….”. Somebody please bring some realism and dignity to the conversation. The Spurs had a solid season last year with basically this same team. Yes, they’ll lose more games this year because of Manu’s injury and the compacted schedule; but that’s hardly a reason for hysterical plots. Titletown, you were calling for them to tank this season in the OFF-SEASON. I think there is literally NOBODY in the Spurs organization from the owner on down to the ballboys that would advocate these embarrassing schemes you guys are coming up with. And if they did, I would certainly no longer be a Spurs fan.

  • Bry

    I agree. It sucks to lose Manu, but he plays the one position for which the Spurs actually have too much depth. I expected Anderson, Neal and Green ALL to improve this season spending most of their minutes at the 2-guard, and I expect it even more now. And you’ve still got Leonard at the other wing spot earning early minutes (which also allows for Jefferson to play the 2 on occasion). And, as Sam noted, if they lose ANY of their big men (especially Splitter or Duncan) they have NO DEPTH and are in a serious crisis. The San Antonio Spurs can lose Manu for 4-6 weeks and still have a very good season. But, if they lose a big man – especially as they bizarrely continue to keep only 4 of them on a roster of 13-15 people – THEN it might be time to panic.

  • Justin-ray

    You play to win… bottom line. Last time i checked manu and tony were selected post lottery

  • Tyler

    Wrong on so many levels. If you think the Mavericks have given up on the season, you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. As much as I root against them, you can’t but help respect a guy like Dirk. They’ll get it together and be in the playoffs without a doubt. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh now your blaming the coach!

  • Anonymous

    Say goodbye to Pop.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah how many of those have we gotten since. NONE!

  • Anonymous

    Genius I am not playing it. I’m watching it.

  • Anonymous

    I agree on the business side of it and if that means putting yourself in a position to acquire a good draft pick to mold the future only if it looks that way I would choose so.
     I think the business man would hope for it. They did in the Robinson era and now I doubt it’s any different. Those homers that have their panties in a wad thinking we are winning a championship and are pissed because some of us feel enough is enough with the band aids on this team to cover that wound that is the fading of Timmy get a clue and move on. I look to the future not delaying it. Oh the guy that’s crying about dignity you think some of these team owners care? Take your dignity, crappy draft pick and first round exit home and put your thumb in your mouth and crawl up in a fetal position go nit nite and don’t wake up till next season when we have the PF that we need because of the draft. Whaaaa! 

  • Anonymous

    ThomasHoldren meet Deeds.

  • Anonymous

    Let the young guys play all season long and if they loose ( “if” ) every game I’m good with that. I don’t want a 8-22 pick I want a top 2 pick. I’m ok if they  Loooooooose! But if they win they better win every game because I’m tired of the lack of progress in the off season in the FO. Timmy isn’t getting his 5th this season. Let’s move on.

  • Anonymous

    That’s not my problem. They shouldn’t be owners of a team knowing that these scenarios happen from time to time. It’s not my money. Their the rich ones I don’t feel sorry for them.

  • Tim in Surrey

    How can you be surprised? He’s been saying it every day for two years.

  • Anonymous

    “They’re” – correction

  • Tim in Surrey

    Not that I’m advocating tanking, but this year I think being in the lottery would pretty much guarantee that we’d hit the jackpot. This is a very, very deep draft, especially for big men. Even if we end up in the middle of the 1st round, we could still easily end up with a talented legit big man like Festus Ezeli or one of the Zellers. And given how many GMs will blow their picks, the odds of a good one falling to us are pretty high.

    But I seriously doubt you’ll ever see this team tanking. Shipping everybody out and rebuilding, perhaps, but I just can’t see Pop rolling out a lineup of youngsters if he’s got veterans who can play (which he does). Something like Manu’s injury is the closest to tanking you’ll ever see from the Spurs. Frankly, I’m not that bothered by it: Manu can stay in shape while he’s out with a hand injury, it will save his legs some wear and tear, and he’ll have enough time after he comes back to get up to speed and in rhythm. In the meantime, Anderson, Neal, Leonard, Green, and Joseph will all get a little more time on court, which is a good thing.

  • Tim in Surrey

    +1

  • Francesco

    Hi Tyler,
    I have a lot of respect for Dirk also, but what does that have to do with the Dallas management deciding to NOT TRY TO REPEAT? I didn’t say they decided to tank, but by not keeping the 2 players (Chandler and Barea) who put them over the edge, they decided they were ok with a solid season but not a season in which they could win it all. By saving money now they can go after Howard and Williams next year.

    And assure you, I hope to be wrong on all levels and that we can rebuild on the fly, but the last 4 years have so far only proved my theory, because we’ve had no success and neither we have added a YOUNG star.

  • Tim in Surrey

    I thought the reason Pop fired Hill was because he was, at best, a mediocre coach. Robinson was a great player but a lot of the losing was on Hill that year, not Robinson’s injury. Remember, Hill is the guy who thought it would be a great idea to single-cover Olajuwon in the conference finals. I never had a problem with Pop for that move. As for Jackson, hardly. He coached in the CBA too, y’know. He took the job in Chicago because he was the lead assistant to Doug Collins, who was fired. He stayed there until they essentially played contract hardball with him after six titles. And hell, who wouldn’t have taken the Lakers job? Finally, when it comes to LeBron… Hell, I’ve been to Cleveland. If you asked me whether I’d rather spend my winters in Cleveland playing with that roster and for that guy or in Miami playing with that roster and for that guy, well I’d have my suntan lotion packed before you could finish the question.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Cousins won’t be on the market just yet. Paul Westphal, on the other hand…

  • Tim in Surrey

    It’s all moot. Pop won’t tank, regardless.

  • Tim in Surrey

    It’s 4-6 weeks for a broken metacarpal, not two months. (My stepdaughter broke three of them yesterday and she’s only in a cast for six weeks.) And Manu has always come back early in the past. I expect he’ll be at full speed by mid-February.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Actually there are potential all-star big men in that category. Have a look at DraftExpress’ 2012 mock draft. They’ve got Tyler Zeller (15), Patric Young (16), Mason Plumlee (17), Mike Moser (20), and Festus Ezeli (21) all going AFTER the lottery. Young and Ezeli are major talents–watch Florida play Vanderbilt in a couple of weeks if you want to see a war in the paint–and the others are all likely to be solid NBA contributors. That’s five good big men, none of whom is really a project, available from 15-21. There are eight other PFs or Cs ahead of them, including seven of the first nine players.

    With this front office’s track record, we might get a first-rate big man even if we do end up with the 29th pick.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Amen. Also, note that Odom’s on a one-year contract, so signing him and amnestying Haywood still leaves them enough space for a big free-agent signing (e.g. Howard or Williams, if he leaves NJ).

  • Anonymous

    Man, finally realistic reasoning to support a few of our posts. Well done! Some people think we can just… “like a good neighbor state farm is there – and a championship team” Get a grip folks. Just enjoy the new talent this season kinda like an audition for the future. That’s what I’m doing.

  • Anonymous

    What if? This season with our luck it’ll be the T-Wolves.

  • Anonymous

    To support your post this is a really weird season. I’t could go either way for many teams. I just don’t want our team to be in the middle of the pack at the end of the season.

  • Anonymous

    I thought we would hold on to Temple and today he would be perfect for Tony’s back up.

  • TD BestEVER

    We don’t need to tank in order to get better……WE JUST NEED TO TRADE TP!!!!!!!!!  I have been on the trade TP bandwagon for about 5 years now and there has never been a better time to shake things up…… Check out these trades……

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7afnezy

    This trade will give us everything we need and then some…….. We would be able to stay afloat until Manu returns and still have a chance to make some noise this year and years to come if the young players work out…..

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=77x8aj5

    This trade while not as good as the 1st one would still put us in pretty good position to compete this year and in years to come…….And all teams in both these trades would be getting something that they have been after…….. mostly young players or expiring contracts or Star Power in Toronto’s case

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  • Bob

    I don’t understand Cuban’s logic. He could have always have traded players if it didn’t work out this season but to give up this season makes no sense.

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  • Hobson13

    ESPN has slightly conflicting reports with regards to Manu’s timeline.  They first say he will “likely” be out for two months and then they way say he will be out “at least” two months.  Either way, it won’t be 4-6 weeks.

  • Justin-ray

    ……. no

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