You can’t separate Manu Ginobili‘s flopping from the rest of his game, so I can’t say unequivocally that he’s one of my favorite players to watch since he entered the league. Experts can term it “gamesmanship” but flopping is terrible to watch. That’s not to say that aspect isn’t an incredibly important factor as to why the dichotomy in Ginobili’s game is so fascinating: His carefully calculated flopping is offset by seemingly unchained drives to the cup that resemble a young, out of control player. But that’s where he’s his best.
There’s only one way to describe these contrasting styles, switching from rare awareness to hell-bent aggression. We’ll let Gregg Popovich take it from here.
Ginobili has always surprised his defenders by his quickness, and it’s still the case now as a 34-year-old. His ball-fake on Kevin Durant in Game 2 froze one of the game’s best players on a slicing layup that was one of many cuts that bled the Thunder to death.
Thing is, it wasn’t long ago he used to be absolutely ruthless at the rim, too. While all of the basketball world is on a Spurs Revival Tour (playing their greatest hits!), I wanted to bring back Ginobili’s own best cuts and how he finished them.
8. Taken from a 2011 game against the Bulls in Chicago, this is the perfect introduction to Ginobili Driving 101. Notice the pin-ball effect while driving to the rim.
7. The set-up is what makes this so good. The entire 76er defense is facing Ginobili, so you know there should be no surprise. Yet he still takes Jodie Meeks off the dribble and treats Spencer Hawes like a traffic cone in a driver’s test.
6. Like all good sequels, this dunk follows a similar narrative but in a different setting. This is Hawes/Meeks 2, but set in Sacramento. This dunk is from 2010 but it’s clear from this playoffs he can still go from the timeline to the hoop in zero-to-“you’ve been YouTubed” faster than all but maybe three to five other active players.
5. Yao Ming gets dunked on, enough said.
4. Brian Grant and Brian Shaw share a first name and also the distinction of getting yammed on in this 2005 slam at Staples. Good night.
3. Josh Boone came late to the “Dunk on Brook Lopez” party, but he was still on Ginobili’s guest list.
2. Does his head almost hit the backboard? I’m not sure if this is from his 2001 or 2002 seasons in Italy with Kinder Bologna, but he was the Italian League MVP each of those seasons while leading the team to the 2001 Euroleague title. Mind you, he was drafted in 1999 by the Spurs, so we could have seen him do things like this even earlier.
1. Haunting Hilton Armstrong since 2009.
Which was his best dunk?
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