On media day, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and guard Tony Parker talked about bringing Parker back slowly and not overworking him after playing a majority of the offseason for France at Eurobasket.
Playing an 82-game season followed by a late playoff run that ended in Game 7 of the NBA Finals and adding on a full Eurobasket tournament can take it's toll on a player's body.
But apparently Parker's teammate on the Spurs and the French National Team, is experiencing some pains of a different kind after Eurobasket, according to his interview with ZonaDosTres.com.
You wake up great. After a very short night and knowing you have a few days to take advantage and enjoy this title. You wake up with neck pain from the weight of the gold medal. (Laughs).
Don't expect Popovich to feel sorry for De Colo and his neck pain from his heavy gold medal. De Colo said he was back in action shortly after Eurobasket since he had to join the team through training camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Throughout training camp and now throughout the preseason, De Colo will have to battle for a spot in the rotation and it'll be a three-horse race between him, Cory Joseph and Patty Mills to play backup to Tony Parker at backup. De Colo is hoping his sophomore campaign brings more minutes and a bigger role.
I hope to play more, of course. Having more responsibilities on this team and, of course, I'll keep working to get it and to return to the Finals again.
After the experience of hoisting the Nikolai Semashko EuroBasket trophy and having the gold medal draped across his chest, De Colo will look to follow that with the Larry O'Brien and some gold around his ring finger to compliment his medal.
I would really like Nando to excel. His length is great for a pg, and he has a pg mentality-he sees the floor so much better than Joseph and Mills through the eyes of a pg. He flashed brilliance on and off last season. He also showed just how much he has to adjust to the speed of the NBA game from Europe. I just don't know how he plays out.
I love Mills' ability to fill up the basket-that's a great thing to have off the bench-but he's a shoot first pg and that will stifle the overall productivity of the 2nd unit if he doesn't distribute.
Joseph, I just don't care much for his game. To me he doesn't really do anything particularly well as a point guard on the offensive end. He's improved at getting his shots off but still turns the ball over too much. If we were in official 'rebuilding mode' I'd be fine with him. I just think TD deserves the best help he can get in what could be his final year (that interview seems to leave that door open as a possibility).
So I come back to my theory: I think one of these young guys sticks, a vet pg is found or traded for, and the other two guys are used as trade bait. Plenty of teams would love to have Mills or De Colo or Joseph-the thing these teams have in common is they KNOW they are not in championship contention.
Let's just hope one of these guys emerges so strong that he can be trusted when everything is on the line for the Spurs.