Spiraling Down the Rabbit Hole: The Scouting Report on Nando de Colo

An innocent email exchange with Alex Dewey of Gothic Ginobili quickly goes awry.

I apologize. I realize that this is a bit unorthodox, and a little out of place for Raptors Republic. Nevertheless, here be my email exchange thread between myself, and Alex Dewey of Gothic Ginobili.

William Lou (started drinking right after this question)

So this Nando de Colo…. he’s going to be the next Kobe Bryant, yes?

Alex Dewey (day drunk, without a doubt)

Kobe he’s not; that’s for sure. I think that actually underrates Nando’s ball-handling and passing abilities pretty severely. Kobe is more of a system passer. Sure, Kobe is smart, but he typically needs a set iso play or a pick to make a pass, which is typically accurate if not perfect. As we saw in 2011, Kobe’s ball-handling and passing comes and goes with his health. Shooting-wise, I’d give the edge to Kobe, though Nando has a better half-step on the elbow.

The better comp for Nando is prime Steve Nash, only with Amare’s swagger and a better 15-footer. It’s not so much that Nando can make a shot from anywhere, but that he can, and, even moreso than Nash, he also likes to get his teammates involved, to an almost-disturbing extent. Do you remember “The Giving Tree”? One of my favorite books. We typically (or I do) associate “The Giving Tree” with Steve Nash. But Nando de Colo is so unselfish and giving, he makes Steve Nash look like prima donna fellow Canadian Drake. You’ll like him, I think.

Shifting gears, OKC must be fuming they missed out on Daye, right? I bet that exchange after the deadline in Presti’s office must’ve been tense. “What do you mean they got Daye?”

William Lou (2 drinks deep)

OKC must be fuming because your Spurs landed the next Kevin Durant.

Here’s the thing with Austin Daye: he’s the Cliff to Durant’s Chris. They’re both 6’11, can shoot the three, and they’re both slimmer than a garter snake (RIP Butchie). In both form and in essence, Daye and Durant are one in the same, like two peas in a pod. My guess is that they were separated at birth, taken worlds apart, but even the circumference of the globe dividing the two (erm, semi-circumference? Help me out here, it says you’re good at math in your Twitter bio) could not keep their growing legends from meeting.

And I know what you’re going to say: “Are you seriously comparing Austin Daye to MVP favorite Kevin Durant?” I will answer a question with another question “did Red Auerbach smoke girly blueberry-flavored cigarellos, or did he suckle on the poisonous teat of a Grade A Montecristo cigar?” Because that’s what Austin Daye is — he’s the world foremost victory cigar. If it’s nearing the end of a game, and you see Daye raising a long, slender finger above his head, you know you’re about to lose (or win big, the victory cigar goes both ways).

So in short, the Spurs just added Kevin Durant 2.0. Let’s just turn our attention to hockey because it’s a wrap for the NBA.

Alright, so the Raptors (like every other team in the NBA) desperately crave a wing who can handle the ball, shoot from range, and play passable NBA defense. I’m guessing de Colo fills that checkmark?

Alex Dewey (at least 8 drinks deep):

It’s funny: When it comes to this trade, the more I think, the more I drink (rhymes) Austin Daye might be the best victory cigar in the league. He might score like Kevin Durant (more like Kevin Day-rant-e). I can’t get over losing Nando. If Pop had just trusted Nando from the start, we might’ve never had to play a Game 6, much less lose it.

Nando did everything we asked, and more, and he did it perfectly about 38% of the time.

“Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen”

~~Sondheim, “Children Will Listen”~~

You ask about passable defense. I give you Nando de Gary Payton.

You ask about range. I give you Nando de Steph Curry.

You ask about ball-handling. Nando de Steph Curry, or, better, Jamal Crawford

That’s my warning to you. Careful what you want from Nando. He’ll give everything he has to become that player.

Wishes come true, not free…
Nando will listen.~

Anyway, I’m sobered up a bit (mostly by sheer sadness edit: he’s lying), and I think it’s time to be rational. Okay, so I look at Austin’s game and see a great player, but I see the mercurial rage at the center of it (Austin Daye is Not Nice). Will this rage subside when Daye hits his physical prime, causing a mild regression, or will Daye burn hotter than ever and make the league his plaything.

William Lou (bottle empty, hitting the Advil prematurely)

I didn’t realize that de Colo was such a fan-favorite? My impressions of him were always rooted in confusion — why is he a Frenchman with a Spanish name and an Argentinian face?

Anyway, more than anything else, us Raptors fans simply want to know one thing — can he run an offense better than Greivis Vasquez? Our second unit lacks playmakers and “shot-creators” (I believe in unicorns too). Can he run a pick-and-roll heavy offense?

As for Daye, I can safely say that I don’t know much about him because he simply never saw the floor in Toronto. He literally only served as the human victory cigar in the dying moments of blowout games. Hilariously enough, the 6’11, 200 lbs skeleton rack played 62% of his 33 minutes this season at center this season, so in that way, he’s like Lebron, because he can technically play all five positions (yet none well). My guess is that Pop will prop Daye in the corner, and only limit him to shooting spot-ups, although Daye has a perverse habit of wanting to handle the ball. He’s not bad at it, he’s just really horrible at it. Also, his freakish length is comparable to that of Giannis Alphabet Hands’, but Daye doesn’t throw up buck-horns, nor does he covet smoothies, so he’s not nearly as adorable.

Alex Dewey (bottle’s gone, settling in somewhere between lubricated and morose)

In all seriousness, Nando de Colo makes Greivis Vasquez look like Chris Paul. Vasquez is having a down season, but he’s been a capable-if-middling-at-best starter in New Orleans.

Nando is nothing of the sort. Nando is a brilliant playmaker, but his Achilles heel is that he isn’t really a good decision-maker in an NBA offense. He’s the kind of offensive genius that a) can’t really create his own shot (though he’s not a bad shooter), so is always compensating and b) is (if a genius at all) a genius wihout discipline, which at some point is just neural noise and turnovers and misses. Consistency is the key to the NBA, and yet, the only chance Nando has at an NBA starting job in his career is to embody the opposite strategy at any given moment: “Risk is the ally of the underdog.” Look, Rubio has flaws with his shot, but he’s immensely aware. That’s what I notice with great undersized or missing-jumper point guards (say, Rubio, Andre Miller, Kidd, Rondo) – they compensate for what they cost the offense with their almost supernatural presence of mind. And sometimes that’s not even enough.

Nando does not have supernatural presence of mind. He has the raw creativity. But the average presence of mind cancels out the creativity, and the low shot-creation ability puts him firmly into negative “bench-clearer” territory. He’s not young enough to hope for significant improvement, and he’s not really able to fit in the vast majority of NBA situations as he is. Make of all of this what you will.

On a positive note (as I alluded to earlier), Nando will make some of the most entertaining mistakes you’ll ever see. He evokes an entire European motion-heavy offense being controlled by a single person while wearing a blindfold. If he ever backpassed 40 feet to a center at midcourt while driving along the baseline on a break, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised. That’s just the sort of stuff he does. I fully expect some kind of pantheonic Drake reaction .gif to Nando doing something crazy from you Raps fans. I fully expect some kind of wonderful moment of brilliant passing to show you what he’s capable of, and then, in, like, the next minute, to make the worst pass in recorded time. The Nando experience is something special, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And so will your announcers!

Also, his name is not Giannis “Alphabet Hands”. It’s Giannis Valsueenowasis. That said, I’m sure Austin Daye will play well in San Antonio. It’s their second favorite city (Austin), their favorite block of time (daye-time), and there’s always the faint possibility he has some adorable “come to queso” moment. Plus, he played with Brandon Knight at one point, which will probably be something Sean Elliott brings up at some juncture. And having a real NBA player to spell the Spurs’ injury-plagued lineups can’t hurt.

Hmm… I can’t really think of any questions. This trade has sort of rocked my world, and so I guess my only remaining question is: When will we finally know who has won this blockbuster? It’s alright to say “both”.

William Lou (Advil kicking in, #TeamGelCaps over #Capsules)

We got Kobe, you got Durant. This is as fair as it gets.

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