The Only Thing You Need to Know:
Just kidding. Sort of.
The wait is finally over. The most anticipated Spur ever™ is finally going to suit up in silver and black. The Man, the Myth, the Brazilian...The Splitter. But what makes him so great? Why does PtR (and every other Spurs related website for that matter,) become giddy at the idea of him starting next to Timmeh? Why does that condiment packet refuse to open when you need it the most? These answers and more below.
- 25 years old
- 6'11"; wingspan of 7'2"; standing reach of 9'1.5"
- Weighs ~240 lbs
Tiago Splitter was drafted by the Spurs in 2007 with pick #28 (first round). Through a number of situations, Tiago and the Spurs decided it might have been best to allow him to develop overseas before he joined the NBA. And man, did he develop. When the Spurs drafted him, in the ACB he averaged 10.7 points, 6 rebounds in ~29 minutes. During the 2009-2010 season, Tiago averaged 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, in the same amount of time of 29 minutes. He improved by 5 points and nearly 1 rebound.
Will his stats in the ACB translate over to the NBA? That's a question we can answer in about a years time. What I can tell you is that during the FIBA game versus the USA, he scored 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. That game should have given you a teeny-tiny glimpse of what to expect.
The importance of Tiago goes way beyond the numbers. Tiago is a beast. No, not THE BEAST™. Well, I take that back. He's like THE BEAST™ but he's the Bizarro BEAST™. DeJuan pounds the boards, but flounders on defense. Tiago is a defensive minded player--a Spur, if you would. Quoting McDonald, "Defensively is where Splitter shone brightest, both physically and intellectually. His pick-and-roll defense -- an area of concern for the Spurs last season -- was superb. His soaring block of Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, hinted at Splitter's athleticism. Splitter was also good defending Lamar Odom in one-on-one situations."
It's worth noting that while he has won the ACB championship, ACB MVP, a spot on the Brazilian national team, and an NBA contract all in one summer, it hasn't gone to his head. During the news conference where he was signed on July 12th, 2010, he was quoted to say "I told R.C. (Buford) and Pop (Gregg Popovich), when I started wearing 21 it was because I love the way Tim Duncan plays. He was one of my idols." Oh, Tiago, where have you been all my life?
Obligatory YouTube Highlights
Tiago Splitter Brazilian - White power mix (via PalomoLv)
Tiago Splitter Video (via eric4029)
How Tiago Splitter will fit with the San Antonio Spurs (via aamcneill)
Tiago Splitter interviewed by KENS-5 news (via Guillermo21071)
Oh, and if you're still wondering about the condiment packet...just use scissors you dummy!
For Your Health™