San Antonio Spurs

Manu Ginobili Must Turn Back the Clock to Help the San Antonio Spurs Win a Title

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 13:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts in the first half while taking on the Miami Heat during Game Four of the 2013 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 13, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Andy HuSenior Writer IIJune 14, 2013

Every player on the San Antonio Spurs has been effective one way or another, but they will need Manu Ginobili to step up big time if they want any chance at winning the championship this year.

In this Finals series, we've seen Danny Green, Gary Neal, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan all contribute in certain games that have helped the team win.

However, it's been Ginobili who has been struggling all year long and his ineffectiveness has carried through into the playoffs.

During the playoffs, Ginobili put up his lowest point production since his rookie season. He's averaging 10.6 PPG on an abysmal 37.7 field goal percentage, which both are career postseason lows (per Basketball Reference). His 25.4 minutes per game average is also the lowest of his postseason career, which goes to show that maybe Gregg Popovich knows that Ginobili's time as a superstar might be over.

But Ginobili has to play like Ginobili if the Spurs want to have any chance of winning a seven-game series against the Miami Heat.

In four games against the Heat, Ginobili has scored 13, 5, 7 and 5 points, respectively.

Furthermore, he only shot above 40 percent in one of those games.

Although he's still trying to make plays for his teammates whenever he can, the Spurs need Ginobili to score when the rest of the team is struggling. Tony Parker claimed that he wasn't 100% in Game 4, and Duncan stated how Ginobili needs to do more, and perhaps be more selfish (via Alex Kennedy of Hoops World).

Maybe Duncan has a point.

Ginobili has been averaging a career high in assists per-36 minutes this postseason and he's definitely looking like someone who's trying to get his teammates involved first.

However, that's only half of the problem.

Ginobili has been passing the ball more because he just can't find his shot. He has been aggressive in spurts throughout every game, like this moment where he drove to the rim and dunked the ball after a beautiful pump fake to get Dwyane Wade into the air.

Unfortunately, Ginobili hasn't been able to keep up the consistency on offense. He would disappear at times or jack up long shots with the shot-clock running down, both of which have been hurting the Spurs' overall offensive flow.

Maybe he should lay back and see what Dwyane Wade did in Game 4.

Wade had an incredible bounce-back game because he continued to attack the basket and demanded the ball on offense. He finished with 32 points on 14-for-25 shooting from the field, along with four assists and six steals. It was one of the best games of Wade's 2013 postseason so far.

Now, Ginobili needs to turn back the clock and do the exact same thing. He and Wade shared similar struggles during this year's playoffs, but now the stage is set for Ginobili to perform.

NBA stars love and embrace the pressure, and Ginobili is probably experiencing the most playoff pressure he's ever had in his career. He lives for these big moments, and Game 5 will be the most important game in this series.

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