Whether or not you think he’s a good fit for the San Antonio Spurs, there’s no denying that Tiago Splitter is getting better. He’s had slight improvements this year in almost every statistical category. Even more than that he just seems to understand things better. He looks a lot more like an NBA player than he did when he entered the league two years ago.
Splitter has appeared in all 50 games this year for the Spurs, starting in 28 of them. He’s scored in double figures every game for the past month, bringing his scoring average up to 10.6 points per game. He even dropped 25 on New Orleans a couple weeks ago when Tim Duncan was out with an injury.
Even the biggest Tiago Splitter critics (myself included) have to admit there’s been a big improvement. We’re seeing a more confident, effective guy down in the post, but where is this change coming from?
“I think it’s a little bit of everything,” Splitter said. “Understanding the system better. Being here with Pop longer. Having more confidence with him. Getting more minutes and experience on the court.”
Confidence is probably a big part of it. When Splitter started in the NBA, he really looked scared out there. Even though he’s almost seven feet tall, he played like he was the smallest guy on the floor. Now he goes after rebounds more aggressively, he drives harder to the rim and he plays like he’s not afraid to go against anyone in the league.
For the Spurs, this comes at a great time. For the past few years, the team has been looking for a big man to shoulder some of the load from Tim Duncan. It’s even time to start thinking about life after Duncan. Could Splitter be the guy to follow in TD’s footsteps?
I’m not ready to go that far. I don’t think the Spurs are convinced either. They brought in Aron Baynes and now we have rumors of a trade for Al Jefferson involving Splitter. But no matter what the Spurs decide to do, if Splitter stays in the silver and black, he’s going to be a big part of the post game for a long time to come. Hopefully he continues to improve.