While French guard Nando De Colo may have become an instant fan favorite after some fancy passing in the preseason, De Colo is still getting his bearings in San Antonio in what has been a whirlwind rookie season so far.
Just to show how easy he's transitioned into the hearts of Spurs fans and bloggers a like, two of us on the Sports Roundtable crew had "more Nando" written down as part of our Spurs resolutions for 2013.
De Colo recently spoke to French site lavoixdunord.fr while he was back in San Antonio for a homestand and De Colo opened up his new San Antonio residence up to the publication and talked about his rookie season in the NBA.
One would expect one of the biggest adjustments in transitioning to the NBA would be the grueling 82 game season. Luckily for De Colo, he's coached by one of the best when it comes to managing the minutes of his players and keeping them all fresh.
We played six games last week, already has two this week. Personally, it's okay, but I have not yet 30 – 35 minutes of playing time as some. The thing is, we have often been outside, fatigue accumulates more. But the coach knows how to manage his team and believes the rest.
De Colo also said the franchise also takes care of its players and will sometimes not open the practice facility so the players can focus on more than just basketball.
When asked about earning his place in the Spurs' rotation on a team that features many veteran players, De Colo mentioned the phrase we've heard many before him say as well and one teammate Matt Bonner preaches.
Earn my place, this is a big word. In this team, you can not say that. These are players who have long, there is a hierarchy and it will always be respected. The trick, as I am told, is to be ready at all times.
Asked if he had any regrets in choosing the NBA over signing a lucrative deal with a big Euroleague Team, De Colo didn't hesitate to answer.
No. My first choice was the NBA. Even if I could earn more money in a big European club or get more playing time early on, frankly, I'd ch … to end my career without trying the NBA. I am and I'm happy. Obviously, with more playing time, it would be even better. But the season is long and my career too.
So while De Colo continues to work his way into Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's rotation and has become a quick fan favorite, there is no removing that "rookie" label in the eyes of his elder Spurs teammates.
Before practices and shootaround, his teammates are more interested in his ability to distribute donuts over his behind-the-back passes that are lighting up Youtube the day after games.