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As much as Gregg Popovich rests his star players, and as hard and as smart as they may work, the fact remains that the core of the San Antonio Spurs is getting old. Manu Ginobili is 35 years old and showing every bit of it. Same goes for Tim Duncan's 36-year-old frame.
The bodies of Duncan and Ginobili are grieving, to say the least. Ginobili has struggled with injuries in three of the last four seasons. Duncan has dealt with his fair share of injuries in his career but has stayed healthy in the last couple years. Still, he needs his rest to stay healthy and effective.
Duncan and Ginobili aren't as scary as they once were. Ginobili isn't as explosive as he once was and had to play fewer minutes than the typical postseason this year.
Duncan isn't an immovable force in the post like he once was, as shown in the last three games of the series against the Thunder, when he gave up 108 or more points per 100 possession in each game.
Tony Parker is older than some basketball players would be at 30 since he's played 10 seasons in the NBA. Parker isn't quite the speedster he used to be. He can still run around and drop buckets at will. That will probably last a couple more seasons.
Duncan will be able to keep up his level of play for another two years as he continues to sip the elixir of basketball life. That he continues to play with his intensity and physicality won't hurt his game too much, as Pops will continue to give him the proper amount of rest.
Ginobili will probably continue to be plagued with injuries. When he does play, he'll continue to be effective, although it will be in around 20 minutes per game.
The Spurs will continue to manage to compete for a spot in the NBA Finals as the trio ages because Pops fits good players around them. Danny Green is emerging as a reliable scorer in Ginobili's stead.
DeJuan Blair has been a fine complement for Duncan in the frontcourt. He posted 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game in 2011-12. Blair will blossom little by little as his role increases.
Kawhi Leonard gave a nice scoring boost in some parts of the year and will grow as a supporting scorer.