The Spurs often ask for selflessness and specialization from their players, which has in some cases left undesirable effects on their career prospects.

Gregg Popovich has established a philosophy in San Antonio that values and rewards an understanding of one's limitations and a capacity to adapt. It has allowed the Spurs to seamlessly experience a lot of roster turnover while still remaining highly competitive and it has been the reason other team's castaways succeed here. You figure out what you can do to help the team and focus on doing that. If you can't, you are gone. It's the "Spurs' way."

The problem from a player's perspective is that the self-exploration and optimization of certain skills can end up having a negative effect in his career prospects and his general enjoyment of the game. At least that's what seemed to happen with Richard Jefferson and what I fear is happening to Nando de Colo.

You know all about the Richard Jefferson experiment and why it ended up being a mistake. But the reason most of us were excited about the trade that brought Princess Peanut to SA was that RJ was actually very good at basketball at the time. It seems crazy to think about it now that he is wasting away in Utah, enjoying the back end of an undeserved contract. But before the Spurs acquired him, Jefferson was coming off arguably the best two seasons of his career, statistically speaking.

With the Bucks in 2008/2009, Jefferson averaged 19, 4 and 2 while shooting 40% from three. He got himself to the line and was efficient even with a high, star-level usage of 24.6%. There were no smoke and mirrors: at 28, Richard Jefferson was still good enough to handle a heavy offensive load in an efficient way while contributing at an average rate for his position in the other aspects of the game. That's what made him an attractive trade target despite being on a big contract. And that's why I'm assuming the Spurs traded for him.

But once he joined the Spurs, he had to change his game completely, going away from what attracted the Spurs in the first place. After being a featured offensive player that got a lot of his half-court offense through post-ups and isolations, 33.9% of Jefferson's offense in his first year with the Spurs came on spot-up situations. Jefferson was asked to cut down on mid-range looks and he did, reducing the percentage of his total attempts from the in between area by almost 10% and getting to the rim more often. The idea was to take the scoring burden off him, make him an efficient offensive player and have him focus on other areas, like rebounding and defense.

The first year was rough but Jefferson got the message and started working on his three-point shooting. Spot-ups became his bread and butter, with almost 48% of his offense coming in those situations in his second season. His three-point rate (percentage of field goals taken behind the arc) sky-rocketed to 48% and his efficiency climbed with it to a stellar 44%. His usage declined even more, to a role player's 15% and his shot selection was limited to beyond the three point line and the rim. Richard Jefferson had his most efficient scoring season by turning into a spot up three-point shooter - and was one of the best in the league at that.