As NBA stars age out of their athletic primes and minutes begin to dwindle, the adjustment typically can go three ways.
The first is denial, which is what we saw in Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and others. The inability to dominate like they once did makes them salty and difficult to play with.
The second is transition, in which players who formerly played key roles on great teams slide down the bench and resemble more of a coach than a player, picking up more DNPs than minutes per game. Tim Duncan can be included in this group, as he ceded control to Kawhi Leonard for much of the Spurs' most recent runs.
The final and rarest one is appreciation. A player, whose skills have aged but did so gracefully, and who has such respect around the league and with the team, that they keep their spot and also bring the young guys along. Ginobili fits here, nurturing the younger Spurs talent while still playing as key a role as ever.
In the 2017-18 season, without Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs went 47-35. Ginobili’s contributions were instrumental in bringing this team, who did not have a top-15, top-20 or top-30 player in the league, back to the playoffs.