Being an NBA rookie is hard enough but being an rookie with the San Antonio Spurs is another thing.
On a team with veterans such as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and a hard-nosed coach like Gregg Popovich, a rookie has to impress if he wants to crack the rotation and see steady minutes. Something rookie guard Nando De Colo is experiencing right now.
Nando played in 72 regular season games but saw his time on the court dwindle as the season progressed. He went from playing in 16 games in December to nine game in April to three games in the postseason where he has only totaled nine minutes. And now that he is not even suiting up for games in the playoffs nor has played in the Warriors and Grizzlies series, Nando is finding it very frustrating and it isn't sitting well with him.
In an interview with French site La Voix Du Nord, Nando vented about his lack of playing time with the Spurs.
"It really is not easy especially since the months before the playoffs, I played 10-15 minutes behind Tony. Then I found myself more on the bench than on the court. I played the first round against the Lakers, but usually at the end of the game when the game was already won. Already, it was not easy. And the series against Golden State, I'm in a suit, that's upsetting. I came here to play. I prepared all year to be ready for the playoffs. Finally, I do not play. The worst is that it is one of the assistants that tells me that I'm in a suit as if it was normal, but it will be before anything happened. The morning of the game, I was leaving after the shoot around and he said "Nando, okay? Tonight you're in a suit." You say shit. You do not know what happened. You're in a new series. You wonder why you, and not another. It is not obvious at all. At first you think it is a game or two. Assistants tell you that things can change and, in fact, nothing changes. But that's coaching decisions. As it gets, there is not much to say. There is little practices, you cannot regain your place. I try to keep my morale and I continue to work on my own. I go to the weight room, I do my individual sessions in the gym, cardio. I'm just waiting to be told, you're back in the list. But in my opinion, it does not depend on that of an injury. This will surely last until the end. "
One can see where De Colo is coming from. The NBA playoffs is basketball's highest stage, it is a chance to play against the best-of-the-best in the NBA, and a Nando is a competitor, however, in the playoffs, player rotations tighten up and unfortunately for De Colo, he is the odd man out right now. Cory Joseph is playing better, Gary Neal is making shots and let's face it, Nando isn't a great defender which is needed in the postseason.
Just taking a look at Nando's games played, one can see the decline in time on the court during the regular season: November 12 games, December 16 games, January 12 games, February 11 games, March 12 games and in April nine games. He averaged 12.8 minutes. Not to mention the multiple times he was sent to the Toros.
In the playoffs, he has played only three games in the Lakers series totaling nine minutes and did not play in the Golden State series nor has he played in the Memphis series.
These are just growing pains for any NBA rookie and Nando is no exception.
From Tony Parker (who saw Speedy Claxton play minutes in the postseason during the 2003 title run) to Tiago Splitter who took three seasons to earn heavy minutes on the court, Nando needs to remain patient and just continue to improve his game and earn the right to play.
De Colo did say in the interview that he knows the Spurs are winning and he doesn't have room to overtly complain about the lack of time on the court, however, he shouldn't let his feeling affect the locker room or cause any rift with him and the coaching staff.
In any event, Nando was clear, he does not have any regrets coming to the NBA despite being buried on the bench.
"No. You do not know as you have not tried. Next year I'm under contract with San Antonio, and there is no reflection or having to say "I'm going back to Europe." I will continue to work. We'll see with the Spurs if something must be done after the playoffs or not. It's frustrating not to play but there is nothing more to think."
@FletcherMackel No way, he is another product of SA's system. Nothing special, no better than Roberts
This is funny because there were actually people on this board that thought he would be a key ingredient to getting us back to the finals... I hate to say i toldja so, but i toldja so.. Nando is just not there yet and i dont think he'll ever get there..
Joseph has just been too good defensively and better with his decisions for De Colo to play. For stretches, he has had even more impact than Gary Neal. It really is simple. I like De Colo's game though. He belongs in the NBA, just needs to work harder and grow as a player. You do realize that even Beno Udrich has built like a 10-year NBA career?
you should do what corey joseph did bunghole..ask yourself to go to the D-League..earn the respect of coach POP
@sa2ny2004 usually players kinda keep it on the down low. Like Dejuan does. But, man! Nando really gave them a piece of his mind!
This ain't France U ain't all that on this team... I respect the game but has a lot to learn on the system.
@poundingtherock: Totally understand his frustration but not pleased with his airing it out in the press. He is getting typical Pop .....
He shot 35% from the field playing 20+ minutes per game during the month of April -- heading into the playoffs I would say the Spurs are better off tightening up their rotation excluding Nando.
His future is bright, but this isn't the time for him to be a rotation player -- nor is this the time for him to be venting to the media about playing time.
He must stay quiet. Zip your mouth. He should know that playoff is way different than regular season. He does not have ability to score, to play defense, turnover prone except to assist.Just sit and watch the playoff like Joseph last year. Also Corey Joseph spent two year in the D-league to earn his playing time.
@dudasun there is another link to same interview that has nando talking more about this. that one is shorter.
@dudasun por cierto, como crees que puede afectar a Duncan el divorcio? Alargará más su carrera?
@dudasun igual es que lo he entendido mal, pero más que rajada es expresar frustración. Aún así lo veo fuerísima
@sa2ny2004 Starting to sound just like Beno Udrih. Cut him!
@theonlyromeo not when nando says he is frustrated.
He has to realize that NOT ALL of the bench can play in the playoff. A coach normally uses 9 or 10 players by this time. He should be more patient. improve his game and somehow crack the rotation. At this point when Manu has his inconsistencies, maybe coach Pop will use him. Truly, he has no cause to complain and should not rock the boat or else he will follow the footsteps of Jackson. Definitely he has the height at 6'5" and he can use it to his advantage being a PG. He can request for a trade if he so desires.
@sa2ny2004 Nando and Aron just need to stay ready, and be patient. Tiago got spotty playing time initially. Solid play = more time
@sa2ny2004 tony better get his boy!
@staydwninsatwn CJ isn't that much better. He's TO prone.
All those same people on here said that joseph will never get playing time and Nando was the man...Now hear them praise him...lol
@staydwninsatwn Yea a few months back i was told i was a idiot, a jerk a hater all cause i said he will only be 3rd string at best. He does not and will not ever have what it takes to star or even be a decent role player in the NBA
@DavidSean Still didn't help.
@JeffProjectSpurs trade options? The bigger question is what was Nando thinking saying these comments on a team that is poised to go to the NBA Finals? He is easily replaceable and Cory Joseph has frankly out-worked him for his position.
@JeffProjectSpurs put him on the bench and not getting him any playing time...oh wait...lol
I have been saying this all year, Nando will never be more than what he is now a bench player at best does not have the speed to play in the NBA...He is a slow guy that cant defend...His fancy passing can happen in the euro league because it is the euro leauge..in the NBA you have to be able to have a quick first step to drive to the basket, create your shot shot or create oppertunities for your team...Nando can not do any of those things at this level, d-leauge does not make you better few people have came up from the D-leauge and became great and euro leauge for that matter falls under the same boat...
@Steve1r09 @poundingtherock That's fuckin pop's nasty habit.
@Gospurs2013 CJ is a friend of the family.
@sa2ny2004 oh ok. Thats the one i found on the french website. Thanks for the heads up
@Sigmund Scrub this.
@AxelFoleyForo Es tan opaco con estas cosas, que honestamente no tengo ni idea.
@Los512 @sa2ny2004Behno starts. Or started elsewhere.
@sa2ny2004 fair enough. It just comes to mind how tony once "said" our championship window is closed.
@TimD_SATX @sa2ny2004 Or more time = solid play.
@Ms_Mambo his time will come.he just needs to have patience, chill, and know playoff rotations tighten up in the nba. just isnt used to this
@joe_gamboa he's a pro baller, a competitor. it's natural for him to want to get out there. he went from playing in spain heavy mins to this
@dudasun de momento no ha afectado a su juego, y como leí en spurstalk parece q se le ve más sonríente. Aunque ahora q es público a saber...
@theonlyromeo its just nba rook growing pains
@sa2ny2004 He also needs to learn not to talk to the media about stuff like this.
@sa2ny2004 I understand that. But he's young and many productive pro seasons ahead of him, and not every year you get the shot at a title.