Before I cause anymore of a ruckus, San Antonio Spurs' Nando De Colo has not been assigned to the Austin Toros, nor have head coach Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford or anyone else announced plans to send De Colo to Austin. Having said that, De Colo was asked by French website Basket USA if he's ready if the Toros come calling. The rookie point guard wasn't exactly keen on the idea.
Interviewer: Are you ready to play in D-League if necessary?
De Colo: No, I'm here to be in the NBA and I do not think about the D-League. We'll see how it goes over the season but frankly it is not on my mind.
Let's take everything with a grain of salt because first off it was translated from the third party and second he was asked a question and he answered honestly. The issue isn't whether De Colo would want to go to Austin. That couldn't matter less. If the Spurs tell him he's going, he's going. End of story. The issue is would De Colo benefit from a D-League assignment. In short, yes he would.
De Colo got some extended run against the Nuggets during Saturday night's blowout win. He played by far a season high of 17 minutes, scoring five points on 1-3 shooting (he also had three assists). Watching the game, De Colo's problem was he wasn't aggressive enough during his time on the court. He was anxious to pass the ball, even when he had an open look to shoot it. I'm all for the extra pass, but I'd like to see Nando working on creating his own offense when he's getting extended minutes in a blow out.
Did you know that De Colo has taken one shot at the rim this season? According to NBA Advanced Stats, he's taken one shot at the rim, no shots in the lane but outside the restricted area, four mid-range shots, two corner three's and two three's from near the top of the key. In Europe and even this preseason, De Colo showed an ability to get in to the lane. He should be doing that even in his limited time during the regular season. Wouldn't Austin be a good place for De Colo to work on creating his own shot? Wouldn't he get more comfortable creating for himself knowing he's getting extended minutes and he's one of the best players on his team?
Again, De Colo not wanting to go to Austin doesn't matter. He has zero say in the matter. Sidenote: He doesn't know what he's missing. Austin is awesome. I do think he would benefit from a couple weeks in Austin. He'd get more time to run point and learn the system. We haven't seen enough of him on the court yet to make anywhere near a definitive judgment about his game. However, if he's not going to get in the lane and pass up wide open shots, he might as well park it on the bench. We should get to know more about his game over the next few weeks as Kawhi Leonard recovers from quadricep tendonitis and the cut on Gary Neal's finger heals.