Juan Carlos Navarro and Nando De Colo each entered the EuroLeague at a young age and grew to become two of the most unstoppable scorers in the competition. They took similar paths, but there are also many differences between the careers of the two scoring aces.
Navarro spent nine EuroLeague campaigns with FC Barcelona in the 2000s and in total was with the club's first team for 20 years. He left for the 2007-08 season and came back even stronger: Navarro was chosen as the 2008-09 EuroLeague MVP.
De Colo made his EuroLeague debut with Valencia Basket, went away and only became a dominant player when he joined CSKA in 2014. He has been unstoppable ever since - for five years with CSKA Moscow and last season with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Navarro, who won one EuroLeague title in each of his decades on the All-Decade team (2003 and 2010) relied more on his three-point shooting; he made 306 triples in the competition's first decade over 163 games (1.88 per game) and took more shots from downtown than De Colo (856 vs. 682) in fewer games (163 vs. 192). Navarro remains the competition's all-time leader in three-pointers made with 623 shots from beyond the arc.
De Colo, a two-time EuroLeague champion with CSKA in the last decade (2016 and 2019) made the most out of his outstanding free-throw accuracy. He did his best to draw a lot of fouls and capitalize from the free-throw line. De Colo is the best free-throw shooter in competition history (769 of 818, 94.0%) and trails only fellow All-Decade team member Vassilis Spanoulis (1,140) in attempts.
De Colo and Navarro first faced each other in the EuroLeague on March 11, 2016. De Colo had 30 points and a PIR of 33, but Barcelona came out on top 100-98 after overtime at Palau Blaugrana. Navarro had 11 points in that showdown.
Their second and final meeting was on January 4, 2018, with a similar outcome. De Colo had a very good game with 23 points and 6 rebounds off the bench for a PIR of 31, but Barcelona beat CSKA 85-72 at Palau Blaugrana behind 10 points from Navarro, who retired at the end of that season.
As they added experience, Navarro and De Colo followed through from outstanding young talents to become stars. And in their primes, they were unstoppable scoring weapons and the respective go-to guys on some of the best squads the EuroLeague has ever witnessed.