Heading into his 15th season with the San Antonio Spurs, Manu Ginobili is not worried about losing playing time to Jonathon Simmons nor Kyle Anderson.
Last season, Ginobili did not exceed 20 minutes per game-the first time it has happened over his 14-year career.
His average of 19.6 minutes ranked him seventh on the team and second among Spurs reserves behind spark plug Patty Mills who averaged 20.5.
It was the second consecutive season someone other than Ginobili led the team in minutes off the bench.
An annual reduction in playing time for a guard approaching 40 is expected; Ginobili has dropped from 30.3 minutes in 2010-11 to 22.8 in 2013-14 to last year’s low.
As long as he believes he deserves them, Ginobili, isn’t ready to relinquish any of his minutes.
“I guess if I’m productive I’ll maintain my minutes,” Ginobili said. “If not, and John [Simmons] keeps progressing and getting better and better he’s going to get a chunk of that. Kyle [Anderson] too. I think it’s natural if it happens. They are both very talented players. They are just asking for room because they deserve it, they work hard and they have a lot of room for improvement.”
April 7, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) dribbles the basketball during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 112-101. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Simmons and Anderson have improved their play and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has already stated he needs to provide Anderson and Simmons with more time on the court.
The two budding stars for the Spurs have played less in their careers than Ginobili did during the 2010-11 season.
Anderson and Simmons are expected to provide quality production and be vital bench contributors on a Spurs team that lives off getting boosts from the second unit.
“We’re hopeful and we think we need to have those guys continue to improve and be on the floor to make our bench deep,” Popovich said. “If you took those two out we’re not very deep on the bench, so they’re important to us.”
Popovich, as he has done over the years, will go through countless changes with his lineups throughout the season to find which will be the most successful.
Ginobili knows that if the two are playing at a level in which they are producing more than himself, than Popovich will indeed make the decision that is right for the team.
“I guess it’s going to be a call that Pop is going to have to make on a daily basis and see who’s doing better, who’s feeling healthier, how to rotate the team,” Ginobili said. “With the way Pop coaches and rotates formations with trips and all that, I think we’re all going to be playing significant minutes.”
Given the statement to be true. Ginobili still will see his minutes reduced whether it is the play between Simmons and Anderson. Popovich will likely continue his trend of resting players through-out the season to prepare them for the post season.
Ginobili, 39, which has taken alot of bumps and bruises over his 1,120-game career, would surely welcome the rest.
No matter how many minutes Ginobili logs per game this year, whether it be, 5-10, 10-15, you better believe you will be getting a whole lot of Ginobili in that length of time.