It takes a special kind of person to wait for their number to be called, and then be able to perform in that moment. It takes an even better player to consistently perform in the reserve role, but make a legitimate impact on a game. The San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili represents those elements, and has earned the right to be considered for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award once again.
Ginobili not only embodies the attributes that come along with the award, but he has perfected the role and set the blueprint for future generations to follow. His willingness to put his teammates before himself is the foundation of his success. Just like the rest of the Spurs’ lineup, Ginobili would rather pass up his own “good” shot to get a “great” shot for another teammate.
This year has not been the most ideal for San Antonio as far as injuries go, but they still have the best record in the NBA. One reason for the Spurs’ quiet domination is Ginobili. His 12.5 points and 4.4 assists per game this season have been huge as part of the best bench in the league. Now, he may be a step or two slower than the Ginobili who averaged 19.5 point per game and won the Sixth Man award back in the 2007-08 season, but he is one of the smartest in the league. His court IQ and feel for the game is unmatched, which is why his play will be significant in another championship run.
As usual, the Spurs are the best team no one cares about, and that is perfectly fine for Ginobili and his band of fundamentally sound teammates. The extra pass and the high percentage shooting are weapons that seem to go unnoticed by most. The basic pick and roll is not shown on any highlight shows or glorified any social media, but the simplicity of the game is what makes Ginobili and the Spurs so dangerous.