Q+A with Tiago Splitter: Bench play, Rising Stars & more


NEWARK, NEW JERSEY — The San Antonio Spurs are playing well in this shortened season thanks in large part to the improved play of second year player Tiago Splitter.

Splitter’s numbers across the board are up this season as he is averaging 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and shooting 69% from the field this season. A far cry from his numbers as a rookie.

Splitter is part of the Spurs’ outstanding bench which has helped keep the Spurs in games throughout this season and is finally showing he can play on basketball’s highest stage  And as Splitter is becoming more comfortable and a critical cog in the Spurs’ machine, his efforts on the court haven’t gone unnoticed.

Splitter was named to the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at this year’s NBA All-Star weekend where he and Kawhi Leonard will be representing the Spurs.

Check out what Tiago had to say about the bench play, being named to the Rising Stars Challenge and much more.

Jeff: Talk to me about the second unit for the Spurs. Seems they have been really stepping up since the Dallas game.

Tiago: I think the guys stepped up. Especially with the Manu (Ginobili) injury and TJ Ford (out with an hamstring injury) so a lot of guy had to step up and play more minutes and have more touches. I think the guys are playing well and I hope we can keep it like this.

Are you looking forward to heading to Orlando in a few days?

Yes I am very happy to be selected to the Rising Stars and well it’s still a little bit of time (away) but I am very happy to be selected and to be honored. I worked very hard to be right here but we still have to play games.

OK so who do you want to select you for the Rising Stars Challenge, Charles Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal?

(laughs) I don’t care, I don’t care. Let’s see how it ends up. I think it’s great for the NBA to try to make the change, mix (to the event) and let’s see how it goes.

I bet you are looking forward to the Olympics this summer as well.

Oh yes! It’s going to be an interesting summer for us (Brazilian national team) and we have a good team. A team that can do something. We still have a long time ahead, but yeah we are very proud and happy to be in the Olympics.