Apr 4, 2012; Boston, MA USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) drives the ball against Boston Celtics center Greg Stiemsma (54) in the first quarter at the TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Mahoney: Manu Ginobili among 20 players to watch this season

Rob Mahoney of The Point Forward compiled an intriguing list that outlines 20 players to watch in the upcoming 2012-13 NBA season.

The list varies between guys like LeBron James (for obvious reasons) to unheralded rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Among them is 10-year veteran and three-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili.

Ginobili, whose eclectic passel of offensive skills and savvy defensive ability, has been one of the most exciting players in the league to watch, even as his athleticism has waned. This is primarily because, as Mahoney notes, his knowledge of timing and space and general basketball IQ are enough to confound his opponents. Opponents like Kevin Garnett in the accompanying video.

Here’s Mahoney on Ginobili:

Ginobili, 35, has entered the unfortunate arc of his career where retirement is an entirely conceivable notion, if not altogether imminent. That’s awful news for a Spurs franchise that has benefited from Ginobili’s spectacular play for a solid decade and unfortunate at the least for basketball fans who have come to appreciate Manu’s cunning. It’s a joy to watch Ginobili manipulate opponents with his use of timing and space, and the league will be worse off the day that he decides to call it quits.

But until that day comes, we’re privileged to appreciate seasons like this one. Ginobili is still playing exceptional basketball and again locked into a crucial role for a contending team. Not much has changed aside from the hands of a ticking clock, and for that we’re all quite lucky.

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Certainly Spurs fans won’t ever get tired of watching an entire 82-game slate where Ginobili treats us to gems like this one. Here’s hoping to health for the 35-year-old, whose play will have basketball fans fixated on for the entire season.

Tags: Manu Ginobili San Antonio Spurs

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