Going into training camp the biggest surprise from the Spurs was the last minute addition of Eddy Curry to their roster. Although the veteran center won a NBA Championship with the Miami Heat last season, he wasn’t exactly a key contributor. Through four exhibition games though, it was French 6-5 rookie guard Nando De Colo who has added some sleight-of-hand sizzle to San Antonio’s preseason.
After a 106-77 win in a friendly against Italy’s Montepaschi Siena the Spurs kicked off NBA competition with a 101-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in which De Colo hit the game winning three-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock. Nando finished the night with 11 points and 9 assists prompting premature comparisons to Manu Ginobili from teammates who eventually settled on dubbing him the poor man’s Manu. At 6-5 and 190 pounds, Nando De Colo is slightly smaller than Ginobili, doesn’t speak Spanish as well, but does show Ginobili-esque flashes of brilliance in his passing game.
“We just need to practice together and to know each other, De Colo told reporters after his first preseason contest, reflecting on his passes. “Part of a team is knowing what teammates do. I’m the new one on the team so I must do my job. I must play for my team, so we’ll see.”
The Spurs followed up their win against the Hawks with a 91-97 loss, where De Colo was a non-factor in limited minutes. Both bounced back in a 116-107 Spurs victory over the Rockets in Houston where Nando outplayed phenom Jeremy Lin with 7 points and 5 assists. Overall, the Spurs have received solid preseason contributions from most of their returning players with newcomers providing occasional highlights. With De Colo likely to see little court time once the regular season begins and 3 games left on the preseason schedule, the time is now for Nando to break through and earn some real minutes.