If you look at Tiago Splitter’s stats, nothing really jumps out at you. Eight points a game and just under five rebounds a game isn’t anything to get excited over, but it does show a big improvement over his first season with the San Antonio Spurs. For starters, Splitter is healthy and has played in every game so far this season. Second his numbers, while still modest, are up across the board.
Splitter’s improvement hasn’t just been noticed by Spurs fans, but also from a familiar source for the Brazilian. FIBA.com profiled Splitter’s development since the end of last season. FIBA notes Splitter’s improvement started this summer when he helped Brazil secure its first Olympic birth in 16 years and continued during his short stint in Europe.
Splitter immediately became La Taronja’s most important player, averaging 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in the Liga Endesa while in three Eurocup games, he averaged 14 points and 7.7 boards.
The calculated risk of playing in Europe paid off. Splitter avoided injury and depending on your opinion of DeJuan Blair this season, has been the Spurs’ second best big. Lately, as Project Spurs’ Paul Garcia noted last night, Splitter is getting more comfortable in the paint. In my opinion, the Spurs are still a big man short, but Splitter’s development will certainly impact how big the need for another big man is.