SAN ANTONIO – Learning to play with San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili might prove to be difficult, especially for a new teammate. From his frenetic style of play to pin-point passes from seemingly out of no where, Manu does bring flare to the court which may confound new players as they adjust to his style of play.
The newest member of the team – forward Jeff Ayers – will soon get a taste of life on the court with Ginobili and Manu is expecting to mesh with the big man quickly.
"That is another connection we need to make," Ginobili said. "We need to get used to each other."
Getting used to Manu's style is something that takes time and more importantly, experience.
Since Manu became a Spur, players have learned one thing – expect the unexpected. Look away at the wrong time and you might see a pass from Manu sail out of bounds. Think you are in traffic and Manu will find the seam to get you the ball for an easy layup.
Fortunately for Ayers, he will be coming off the bench with Manu which should speed up their chemistry as the season moves along. He can also take solace knowing he wasn't the first big man to take time.
Tiago Splitter went through "Manu 101" when he joined the team. Fast forward to today and the two work the pick-and-roll brilliantly making the them a nice one-two punch off the bench.
"It used to be Tiago from the bench with me. Now it will be him (Ayers) or (Aron) Baynes," said Ginobili. "I need to know how he rolls on the pick and roll, how he posts up. He has to be able to expect my passes."
The Spurs signed Ayers to a guaranteed deal which means he will be going to battle on the court for sometime. Once the Spurs passed on DeJuan Blair, it opened the door for Ayers to make his mark on the team and be the type of big man for San Antonio that Blair was not.
In a competitive Western Conference – which include big men such as Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol – Ayers will have his hands full nightly. However, unlike the aforementioned big men, he will have at his side Ginobili who will find him for either clear looks at the rim or easy buckets, so long as he is ready.
"Usually it takes a bit with guys you haven't played with," Ginobili said. "We both want to understand each other and we are going to do it."