The San Antonio Spurs had to have thoughts that the days of Manu Ginobili being an effective NBA player were over in the 2013 Playoffs, particularly in the Finals. Ginobili looked about three steps slower than ever before and seemed to also be losing some of his mental acuity on the floor that has made him such a special piece for this Spurs team over his career.
However, the Spurs elected to re-sign him this summer and that decision has proven to be a wise one. While Ginobili hasn’t been the player that he once was, he has indeed bounced back and has looked much better than he did at the end of the postseason last year. While he’s had success for most of the 2013-14 season, his December has been quite head-turning.
Playing just 24.3 minutes per game in 13 December games, Ginobili has averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three. Moreover, Ginobili has also hit on 91.7 percent of his 3.7 trips to the foul line per game in December and has a plus-mi minus rating of 6.5 points per game over the month.
Ginobili has looked more similar to the perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate that more than earned his stripes in San Antonio over the years. Personally, I’m still hesitant to say that this level of play is sustainable for a full regular season because of Ginobili’s injury history, age, and time served in this league. Regardless of sustainability, though, his performance as of late has been admirable and deserving of recognition. We’ll see if he can cap it off with another solid outing on New Year’s Eve versus the Brooklyn Nets.