The day after the Dallas game, Manu did an interview with the Argentine radio show Todo Red. There was a lot of friendly banter, since Manu knows the guys that run it, but there was also some interesting stuff concerning the NBA, the Spurs and his health. Here's a link to the page where you can listen to the original interview in Spanish and were you can read a reduced version of said interview. The translation is after the jump.
What's your take on the return of Stephen Jackson and the moves the FO made?
I'm excited. I got along great with Jackson. We played together for only one year, about 54 years ago. Ha. In 2003, a long time ago! I have a good relationship with him, as do Tim and Tony; we were all together in that team. So we like him and he's pumped to be back after spending the last few years playing in environments where he couldn't find motivation. I'm happy, excited. I hope he improves the team.
Was it just for caution that they held you back of the OKC game but let you play against Dallas?
Yes. I'm in no condition to play back-to-back games right now. I have to regain muscle mass, so I have to be careful and Pop is being careful, too. The objective is not to put up stats in the next five or six games, but to be healthy and ready to go in the playoffs. We will take it slow, since I don't want to suffer another setback and miss another couple of weeks because at this point, that would mean missing most of the season. I have to manage my energy and my body.
It makes sense since the team is looking to save energy and monitor minutes considering it's an atypical season and the playoffs are when you want to be at your best. And stop crashing into people, just shoot threes! Save that for the playoffs, ha!
Ha! My minutes are already capped at 24, so they are already controlling me and not letting me play my game. I'm being careful and Pop doesn't want us to screw up, so we are taking it slow.
Luckily you guys have a rejuvenated Tim Duncan and Tony Parker playing great, at an MVP level. What do you think about that?
Tony is playing fantastic. He's level is superlative right now, managing the rhythm of the game, coming through in the clutch when we need him to win games. They are smothering him from minute 1-48 so last night in Dallas he just didn't have his legs under him. He should be a top 5 MVP candidate this season. He's one of the biggest reasons we are second in the West. And Tim has been great the last few games, too. He's healthy, focused and playing great. This could be a great season. I'm excited and looking forward to joining the party.
Has any player or team caught your attention or is it all pretty much what you expected?
To tell you the truth, everything is pretty much within what I expected. Perhaps Boston having such a bad season; no one so that coming. The Lakers started slow but are starting to find their groove. It's pretty much what we expected. I think the Clippers are higher than was expected. They have a great team and players but we all thought it would take them longer to develop chemistry but they are playing well and are a really tough team.
And what players impress you when you play against them?
Durant and Westbrook are physically different; they play at a speed that would be hard for anyone to maintain but they do it naturally, like it's not a big deal. You can include Wade and LeBron there. Derrick Rose is in that group, too. Or sometimes you look at Blake Griffin and it's just scary. It's unbelievable. Just when you thought no one could jump higher, someone comes along. And when you think no one could be faster than Chris Paul or Tony, Rose and Westbrook appear. Just when we though no one could jump higher than Amar'e, Lebron came along and after LeBron, Blake Griffin. They just keep raising the bar and it makes it hard to compete with that. When you think you blew pass them, they recover and block you; they catch up and do things that make you go "no way". I have to face them every night and they never cease to amaze me. They are consistent and they have a fluidity to their game and some athletic gifts that are just scary.