The San Antonio Spurs signed French point guard Nando De Colo before the Olympics started, and while they were smart to re-sign Patty Mills before his stock rose due to his performance leading Australia, they may have signed De Colo much too soon.
Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike De Colo. In fact I'm rooting for the guy and I think he has his positives, but more on that later.
The Olympics were the ultimate test and proving ground for De Colo in seeing if he was ready for the NBA. He would be playing top talent like he will in the league and was playing with much better players, which will be the case in San Antonio.
In six games with France, De Colo averaged seven points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, not exactly numbers to write home about.
Before I go forward, let's go over the positives and negatives of what we saw of him in London.
He dismissed any concerns about his speed, especially playing against and defending faster guards, and even point guards when he plays there. Even new teammate Manu Ginobili had trouble tracking De Colo down. He also used his speed to slash into the paint and finish at the rim.
Having run much of the same plays the Spurs do with Team France should give De Colo a leg up when it comes to training camp. It will especially help when he's asked to lead the team at point guard.
• Efficient Shooting
While he's had some problems with inconsistency, when he's on. his shot is falling. His shot from the outside is a very smooth, fluid shot, and he averaged 41 percent on his two-point shots.
As I mentioned above, what I saw in these Olympics and several FIBA tournaments over the past few years is that De Colo is very inconsistent. He can finish with 11 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes in a big win over Argentina, then play more minutes a few games later against a lowly Tunisia team and only put up 6 points, while missing all three of his attempts outside.
• Turnover prone
De Colo turned the ball over nearly three times per game. Add to that the fact that he never played more than 25 minutes and it becomes a cause for concern.
If De Colo is going to spend time at point guard, he'll have to be better at being more aware of the game, spacing and defensive sets with the ball in his hands. In several of his games, I saw him chuck up threes when there were better scoring options available and chose to shoot instead of moving the ball around.
While there are more positives and negatives, I'm listing what stood out to me the most. While he's known as a three-point shooter, some games he was unstoppable outside and some games he was cold even on a closer three-point line. He'll have to adjust to the NBA three and needs some improvement in other areas.
He impressed me in some games, especially against Argentina, and he had me shaking my head in others. Obviously he didn't play big minutes, but he won't play big minutes in San Antonio either. While Marcus Denmon is gone, the Spurs still have a stockpile of guards. Unless someone is moved in a trade that would net the Spurs a big, someone will have to pack my bags, and my money would be on Cory Joseph staying at this point, especially after opening eyes at Summer League.
Training camp could change plenty, but if De Colo doesn't go to Austin, I see him buried under Mills and Gary Neal on the roster as the 6th or 7th player off the bench. If he can find a way to improve, be more consistent and be the same player Manu Ginobili had to chase around, he can steal some minutes, but he'll have some tough competition.
I never thought of DeColo as a major difference maker. I do agree for the most part on assessment. Understand under Pop's eye and assistant's eyes Spurs Frenchman #3 will take more care of the ball or pack his bags really. I liken his game to Manu just in posture at times, A junior Manu (I don't like reference to poor man... lol). Slasher, pick and roll type player, nifty good passer and sizeable and can play 1 or 2 position supposedly. He is only building his game...far from a finished productive Spur product. London was a good building block for him. It does appear that a deal involving a 1 or 2 guard and / or a Blair or Bonner would be logical for a good big, if that is possible. Go Spurs!
This is the best assessment of DeColo I've seen thus far... I finally got a chance to watch him during the olympics and my mind hasn't changed about what he's going to be able to do for us.. A lot of the spurs fans see this guy as a difference maker but now that the picture is getting clearer and clearer abut what kind of player we can expect him to be, lets put this difference maker talk to bed. hopefully I'm wrong and he helps lead us back to the promise land but in the meantime were going to hang our hat on whats gotten us 4 chips... playing together, coaching, and defense... jmo