San Antonio Spurs All-Time Lists

Spurs' 5 Best defenders of the 21st century

Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen
Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Manu Ginobili, James Harden / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

4. Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili never lead the league in blocks, steals, defensive rating, and defensive win shares, and he never made an All-Defensive team. He was a pest, and he made a whole career on it. In the playoffs, Manu had perhaps the greatest defensive play in franchise history when he blocked James Harden.

Manu averaged an insane 0.3 charges taken per game. That may not sound like a lot, but it would be enough to put him in the top ten in ten last season and pretty much any season. Basically, his average is better than most people’s best seasons. 

Some would say that Manu is a flopper, and I would tend to agree that yes, he has been known to sometimes embellish in order to get a call.

The average NBA player weighs 217 pounds. The average player sprints at around 19 miles per hour. I’m no physicist, but that means people are running into him with a force of 590 newtons. In layman's terms, that’s a lot. More than enough to send an Argentine flying. 

So I would say Manu doesn’t flop, he just gets in people’s way. As a fan, I have my biases, but I would call that good defense. 

On top of all that fancy science mumbo jumbo, one has to remember that Ginobili was the sixth man for most of his career. And yet, when it mattered most, Popovich had him on the floor. Why? Well, he was a good shooter who knew when to hold onto the ball, but also because in crunch time, he could get a stop.

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