Tim Duncan is gone.
Well, not entirely, he’s shown up at Spurs training camp, but Duncan is no longer a member of the Spurs going through the daily grind of getting ready for the NBA season. This is Kawhi Leonard‘s team now, and to a lesser degree LaMarcus Aldridge‘s team. But Leonard is the younger player who came up through the Spurs system. He’s the long-term future.
So how do Duncan and Leonard’s leadership styles compare? Pretty well if you ask Manu Ginobili.
“I feel we will miss (Duncan) more as the season progresses, though. Now everything is new and we’re focused on playing well. Anyway, making it to the locker room and seeing another person in his place is, without a doubt, odd. It’s been 15 years together; his presence brought a lot of different things. But I insist it’s going to be felt more during the course of the season. It also feels strange not having Boris (Diaw) and Matt (Bonner), who were key too. Those are big absences. Boris’ is felt on and off the court. Matt’s more off the court because he played less. Those two players made me feel comfortable on a day-to-day basis and everything was enjoyable. I could talk with them about things not related to basketball. I’m going to miss them a lot from a personal standpoint.”
Manu is the old guard of the Spurs, a team that is different this season (although not terribly younger or more athletic). Ginobili had friends who have moved on, but he has one more run in him.
And even though things feel different, this should be one deep run with the Spurs.