All along we’ve been saying that it’s been a three-horse race for who would end up as the San Antonio Spurs’ backup point guard to relieve Tony Parker when he heads to the bench.
It appeared Cory Joseph, Patty Mills and Nando De Colo were all competing for the job, but according to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after practice last week, it appears to just be between Joseph and Mills.
“At this point, Cory Joseph is the guy that one would think has the first dibs on that position, but Patty Mills played last year along with Cory in the playoffs. Patty Mills came back ready to play and Patty wants minutes too,” Popovich said. “So those guys are going to be competing against each other and luckily they’re great teammates so in the end whatever happens, they’ll both stay ready to play.”
While I could be reading into this too much, Popovich also mentioned the possibility of Marco Bellineli playing some point as Manu Ginobili does from time to time, but no mention of De Colo.
“Just like Manu gets in the mix in certain situations, I think Marco showed that he can do that in Chicago, so it’s another possibility that we have,” Popovich said.
Minutes in the backcourt will be scarce with Joseph, Mills, Bellineli and Ginobili eating up a large portion of the reserve minutes in the backcourt.
De Colo likely didn’t make it any easier for himself when he got yanked from Sunday’s game against the Suns quickly. He unfortunately followed that up with four turnovers, two of which led to breakaway dunks, in 13 minutes last night against Denver.
While it’s still preseason and it’s easy to read into these situations, if playing time is going to be hard to come by for De Colo, you wonder if a stint with the Toros could be beneficial to De Colo as it was for Joseph. Working with a coach known for development in Ken McDonald and having a chance to play big minutes within the Spurs system could prove beneficial.
For now though, it’ll be interesting to see how the Joseph-Mills battle plays out.