Asked in September what Coach Gregg Popovich said to him as he decided over the summer whether or not to retire, Manu Ginobili said the conversation “was short.” (The Spurs organization, Ginobili said, had already expressed that “they needed me again and that I still help.”) Wait, Popovich’s conversation was short? No surprise to a sideline reporter, but short with Manu? Well, call it efficient instead. Pop knew what he wanted, which makes it easier to go fast. Ginobili revealed that Popovich said “he wanted me back, he needed me, that I could still help the team win.” Basically, “that was it.” And Ginobili said Pop didn’t ask him for a response right then. Pop just expressed his opinion and Ginobili “had to deal with it and decide.”
With Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker out for the Spurs at the season’s start Ginobili has been averaging 20-plus minutes per game. He’s shooting a career low 30% so far through six games. But the Spurs, wouldn’t you know, are winning. They’re 4-2. Asked about his leadership, Ginobili acknowledged his leadership roleis important, “I think one of the reasons they keep me around is I help in other aspects,” he said. “My numbers have not been the best in my career [lately],” he said with a laugh. But the Spurs won 60 games that way last season.