New article by Manu Ginobili - La Nación newspaper

The Only Objective is to win the championship

by Manu

San Antonio – The most important thing I would like to tell you is that I am healthy, pain free, finally healed and now just trying to recover my game. I think I am eight points at this stage. I have to better my shooting and have a quicker response on defense, but considering that the pre season just finished, this is also normal for the majority of the players. More so, it’s always harder for me to get into a rhythm. I’m going slowly. I’m also lacking penetrations to the hoop. I have tried it a little and I don’t know if by lack of power or confidence but it’s been tough to get to the basket.

In addition, I’m happy with the playing time that I played on the pre season; against Oklahoma I had 23 minutes on the court. I don’t know how that will work for the beginning of the regular season, but I would like to play a lot of minutes to feel useful and start to tune up with our new teammates.

Truth is that it’s gratifying to be able to travel with the team again; it has been a while since I did it last, but I still don’t have that adrenaline that you feel before a final. I would say my expectations are double because next season starts on Tuesday and I will be playing back again after a long time. It will be nice to have my jersey on and feel the fans twice as loud.

About our team’s performance on the pre season, you have to highlight that Pop generally uses the substitutes not to wear down the rotation players. But I would like to mention both George Hill and DeJuan Blair. They were the best. I think Blair will be a huge surprise. He barely surpasses 6 feet 7 inches, but he has a lot of attitude, a special grit to pull down the rebounds and he scores easily. He is very intense and fights fiercely for every ball. If you are going after a ball with him, he pulls your arm down… It has been a while since we last had such an athletic and intense bigman in the team. Though he is the 4th of them off the bench, there is a lot of hope on what he could contribute. Anyway, I think the starter will be Matt Bonner, because with his long range shots, he opens up the floor for Tim and the rest of us.

The game style will be freer, with a more fluid game and lots of pick and rolls. We will no longer be waiting for Tim to arrive and establish himself in the paint as it has been historically with us. Though I guess that will also depend on the games we’re playing. The running style adapts better to what Tony proposes. I am not saying something new if I say that this is now more Tony’s team than Tim’s. How that will benefit me or not? I truly don’t know. We will see it on the court and it will depend on the games individually.

There are no doubts that this year more than ever, the only objective is to win the championship. The franchise has done a great effort to put together this great roster. It is the very first time that the salary cap is exceeded. Almost 13 million past the limit. Since I have been here, it's never happened before. The Spurs understand that this is the moment to pursue another title. They want to take advantage of Tim’s and my last years being able to compete at this level. With the arrival of players like Richard Jefferson, Antonio MyDyess and Theo Ratliff, plus the investment in young talent like Blair, San Antonio saw the chance and decided to do the big investment.

Anyway, the road will be hard because there are other strong teams that got better with the arrival of great players. Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Denver, the Lakers, Portland and Dallas are all in as well.

Lastly, I have to recognize that this will be a key season for me. A window season because next year I will be a free agent and I have to show my best to have a great future. My next contract will depend on how I play this season.

I do not want to forget to mention Fabricio Oberto. Even though I will miss him as a friend because we would share a lot of time on our trips and those long weeks when we go out on the road, also the franchise will miss him. It has been mentioned already by the assistant coaches and my teammates. He has always been a beloved guy and his absence will be felt.

Translation - urunobili

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