Before landing with the San Antonio Spurs, Tiago Splitter was "the man" while playing in Europe. Whether it was for his former Spanish team Caja Laboral or with the Brazilian national team, Tiago was the go-to player for those teams and scored at a great clip.
However, coming to the Spurs with players who do the heavy scoring (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) there was no need for Splitter to put up the points as he once did.
And head coach Gregg Popovich made that clear from the beginning with the Brazilian center.
Via Diario Catarinense:
Since I got here, Gregg Popovich put me in order to help the team win. He did not want me to be the team's leading scorer, he did not want anything like that. He wants me to contribute to the team, and is also what I want.
Taking a step back might have been a tough pill to swallow for a player who was the star for former teams. Splitter had to do what was right for the team first and figure his niche in the NBA,
Fast forward to today and Splitter has made leaps and bounds with San Antonio since his rocky rookie season beset with injuries which contributed to his slow integration with the Spurs.
After his rookie season, Splitter went from averaging 4.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and shot 52 percent to averaging 10.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and shooting 56 percent.
Just goes to show, sometimes taking a step back means taking leaps forward.