When San Antonio Spurs MVP candidate point guard Tony Parker went down for a month with a severely sprained ankle, the Spurs once promising chances of reaching the NBA finals too a huge hit. Luckily for the Spurs Manu Ginobili is finally healthy and beginning to play his best basketball at just the right time of the season.
Ginobili has missed his typical handful of games this season with nagging injuries here and there causing Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to limit Ginobili to around 23 minutes per game. Fewer minutes have resulted in Ginobili’s lowest scoring average since his rookie season (just 12.5 points per game so far). Although Ginobili hasn’t been scoring a ton of points off the bench for the Spurs he has been more of a playmaker, which is exactly what the Spurs will need him to continue to be with Parker sidelined.
In the three games since Parker went down on March 1, Ginobili has indeed stepped it up, averaging 14.7 points and nine assists in just 23.9 minutes a game. Ginobili is starting to resemble the player many considered the best sixth man in the NBA over the last decade, and for good reason.
Ginobili and future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan will be relied upon heavily to keep the Spurs rolling with their leading scorer and passer out of the lineup for the next month or so. The window on Ginobili’s career is closing soon and he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so this may be his final run at a fourth NBA championship with the Spurs. Look for Ginobili to close out the season on a tear before the curtain closes.