Manu Ginobili on aging: “I am changing the way I play”

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As superstar players get older, they have to slow themselves down. Manu Ginobili has been at that stage of his career for a few years, and there’s a very good chance this will be his final season with the Spurs. He admitted recently that he has to start picking his spots now, rather than playing full-throttle all the time.

From ESPN.com’s Michael C. Wright:

So while observers may see Ginobili display some of those attributes throughout this season, even he admits he’s scaling back things somewhat.

“Yeah, I am changing the way I play a lot,” Ginobili said Friday after practice. “[I] still have that essence. But of course, I don’t have the ability to go all the way as often as I used to or get into the lane or throw my body onto defenders like I used to. So I’ve got to mix it up, pick my battles.”

Through five games, Ginobili is playing 20.6 minutes a night, his lowest average of his career, including his rookie season. The Spurs have enough depth that they don’t need to rely on him to do the bulk of their bench scoring anymore, but if he’s fresh for the playoffs, it greatly increases their odds at making one last title run with their longtime core.