Updated with video highlights of the Caja Laboral and Valencia games.
The games have started in Europe and I breakdown Tiago's Caja Laboral team. The forecast calls for Tiago in San Antonio in the fall.
Tiago Splitter -- Caja Laboral -- ACB
In this week's ACB game, Laboral beat CB Murcia 88-66 with Tiago putting up a solid 16 points and 6 rebounds in 29 minutes. He was 7-11 from the field and 2-2 from the line. Caja is now 1-0. Fernando San Emeterio lead Caja with 22 points and Stanko Barac added 20 points and 6 rebounds. Stanko is a 7'-1" center who was drafted in the second round of 2007 by the Heat. I think he was then traded to the Pacers, but he hasn't played in the league. He's just now 23 years old.
Tiago and Stanko combined to play 46 minutes in a 40 minute game. They are 7'0" and 7'1" respectively. That's a big lineup. Was Tiago playing the 4? Is Tiago that agile that he can move over and play the 4? Is he good enough to play away from the basket defensively?
Caja's next game is Thursday against Bizkaia Bilbao Basket. They are a solid upper half team and should be a good test for Caja. Yeah, I know I said they only play once a week, but the Euro season's haven't started so they get in a couple mid-week games while they can.
Nando De Colo -- Valencia -- ACB
SpurNando helped get the year off to a good start in the Valencia victory 80-68 over Estudiantes. Nando had 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists on 4-11 shooting (1-4 from 3-point) in 26 minutes. Valencia was led by Blazers first round pick Victor Claver. Claver had 19 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. For Estudiantes, cup-of-coffee Spur Blake Ahearn had 22 points on 5-10 3-point shooting.
Next up for Valencia is Regal Barcelona, the big dog in the ACB, on Wednesday at 1:30. I'm very interested to see how Nando and Valencia fair against the top powers in Euro basketball.
Eric Dawson -- Mitsibishi Diamond Dolphins -- JPL
Mistubishi split a pair of games with Hokkaido over the weekend. Unfortunately, box scores are not available at the Asia Basket site.
James Gist -- Unknown
Still no data on James.
Robertas Javtokas -- BC Khimki -- Russian League
Robertas signed with BC Khimki this summer. Khimki is playing in the top EuroLeague for their out of league competition. Khimki also has former cup-of-coffee Spur and Austin Toro Keith Langford. Khimki kicks off their EuroLeague season Thursday, October 22nd at 11:00 AM against Real Madrid.
Khimki's Russian season begins this coming Sunday against Spartak St Petersburg.
Why I think Tiago will be in a Spurs uniform next fall
Last summer, our Tiago Splitter outlook was bleak. The Euro teams were spending money like mad, Splitter was a late first-round pick locked into a very non-competitive salary slot, and Tiago's team was a top-tier Euro team looking to stay at the top. Then the dam broke.
Many of the Euro teams are not as free with their money this year thanks to a tightening global economy. Earlier this spring, the 48MoH guys brought to light the fact that the Spurs will not have to pay Tiago Splitter under the rookie pay scale. Then Splitter's team lost their long-time sponsor Tau Ceramica. They did get a new sponsor in Caja Laboral, but I don't think those pockets are as deep. Caja's roster underwent an overhaul this summer and I don't think it was in a spending spree. I think it may have been more like cost cutting.
Several rotation players left including three starters. Pablo Prigioni, the starting point guard, went to ACB competitor Real Madrid along with one of the first guys off the bench Sergi Vidal. Pete Mickeal, starting forward from the University of Cincinnati, went to powerhouse Barcelona. Igor Rakocevic, the team's best player last year (read this profile on DraftExpress to see how much they lost), went to Turkey and signed with Efes Pilsen. Fun note: Igor played briefly in the NBA with the T-Wolves and then was signed briefly by the Spurs.
Who did Caja replace all this talent with? Not really that much. Carl English and Stanko Barac. San Emeterio was on their bench last year. (Or maybe with Valencia. He's listed as having played on both teams and his name looks familiar. Either way, he's not a top-tier Euro talent.) Pau Ribas as their point guard, who played with Ricky Rubio at DKV Joventut last year.
This is a team that has been dominant in European basketball over the last decade. They have routinely been in the EuroLeague Final Four and have been top team in the ACB. Last year they made it to the final 8 of the EuroLeague and lost in the finals of the ACB playoffs (after winning the regular season). Both the EuroLeague and ACB losses were to Barcelona.
To sum up, Caja lost A LOT. I'm not sure that they made up for it with the guys they picked up. I don't believe they are nearly as good as last year and I think they will struggle to get out of the first round of the EuroLeague. I can't even imagine them staying at the top of the ACB. This offseason does not suggest to me this is a team is able to stay at the top of European basketball. Additionally, the top ACB competitors Real Madrid and Barcelona really strenghtened their teams.
And if they aren't a team staying at the top, why would Tiago want to stay? The pieces are falling into place. I really believe we'll see Tiago in Silver and Black next year.