Manu Ginobili’s inevitable retirement looms closer with each passing season as his decline this season clearly indicates.
The decline of Ginobili has been evident more than ever in 2012-13. We were all hoping that last season’s 12.9 ppg in 34 appearances was more of an aberration rather than the norm, but his play this season has slid further.
Ginobili is doing less of what made him a star with the San Antonio Spurs and a lot of that has to do with age. Not only is he scoring less, he is shooting the ball poorly and rebounding and assisting at a lower level than ever before.
Ginobili has seen his underrated athleticism leave him and it has resulted in an over-reliance on the 3-point shot. He’s right around his career average for 3-point attempts, but is playing significantly less than in previous seasons. As he’s not hitting the outside shot an above average clip anymore, his effectiveness has plummeted.
As noticeable has been his defense. Ginobili struggles to keep up with quicker perimeter players and has become a liability as opposing teams target him in isolation and pick-and-roll situations.
Ginobili’s decline isn’t set in stone — he can and should improve on this season’s disappointment. However, the Spurs appear to have their next perimeter star already in Kawhi Leonard and Ginobili, hell bent on playing at least two more seasons, will find more value as he transitions into an effective role player rather than a centerpiece.
Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.