May 27, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) strips the ball from San Antonio Spurs guard Manu GInobili (20) during the first half in game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at the AT
Dime Magazine ranked the top 10 left-handed players ever and it’s natural to expect two essential Spurs cogs for the last two decades — the sinewy, ebullient Manu Ginobili and the athletic specimen that was David Robinson — to make the cut.
Robinson finished third behind Willis Reed and Bill Russell while Ginobili was noticeably snubbed from the list.
“The Admiral is another legendary big man, who averaged 21.1 points on 51.8 percent shooting for his career, plus averaged 10.6 rebounds and three blocked shots a game. He’s got two NBA championship rings, one NBA MVP and 10 All-Star appearances. He was the first foundation of the Spurs dynasty.”
While effective left-handed players are few and far between, this list has more than enough talent to generate 20 players. Bob Lanier, Gail Goodrich, Artis Gillmore and Chris Mullin are certainly excellent players and you can make a case that they belong on the list over Ginobili, who has yet to see a finite ending to his career.
Delving deeper, Ginobili’s advanced statistics compare favorably with those of Goodrich, Gilmore and Mullin. He’s produced 83.6 win shares (not including 15.4 playoff win shares, which give him an inestimable advantage over his left-handed peers) and his efficiency denotes his spot on the list.
Plus, from a purely subjective point of view, is there anyone that embodies the inherent quirky nature of left-handers more than Ginobili? His ability to carve space through his use of in-and-out dribbles, behind-the-back maneuvers, step-backs and the venerable European step is unprecedented.
Ginobili has defined this era of left-handed players, exhibiting first hand the potential of a player possessing otherworldly gifts with the added duplicity of predominately using his left-hand. And that’s why he should have been on this list.