AJ Mitnick of Sheridan Hoops tackled this years deep international rookie class — which includes 2011 first-round pick Jonas Valanciunas and Alexey Shved, who played a key role for Russia in London.
It’s a crop of players that will likely contain a few solid NBA contributors. Among those viable contributors is Nando De Colo, San Antonio’s lone external addition, who struggled a bit at the Olympics.
Mitnick ranked De Colo ninth among 11 international rookies — not exactly ideal but the players above enter the league with a higher platform. Here’s what he had to say about De Colo:
“After several summers as Tony Parker’s understudy on the French national team, De Colo is a NBA talent who should fit right into the Spurs system. He has a good feel for both guard positions, is a great outside shooter, is very strong in transition and is a capable defender. While he probably won’t be the same type of steal that Ginobili was after being drafted at the bottom of the 2nd round, he will surely be another example of the Spurs eye for overseas talent. It may be difficult for him to get minutes as a rookie, since he will be competing with Patty Mills and is likely to get the rookie treatment, but if called upon he should be ready to rumble.”
Depending on how you view international rookies, and Gregg Popovich has slowly began to entrust significant roles to rookies, De Colo may not be a player you are necessarily excited for. His blend of passing and scoring gifts leave me hopeful that he translates his international success to the states but it’s going to require patience. De Colo’s athleticism is mediocre in comparison to his NBA peers and realizing this, and adjusting, will be imperative to his success going forward.
So what do you think Spurs fans? Where would you rate De Colo among his fellow international rookies?