2013-2014 is the season that Tiago Splitter needs to prove his worth to the San Antonio Spurs’ organization. Splitter made some serious strides as a player last season, averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds on an efficient 56 percent shooting from the field. He was vital in the Spurs’ run to the Finals, particularly against the Memphis Grizzlies when he effectively shut down Zach Randolph. But unfortunately, fans and the media have a selective memory, and most remember Splitter for an overall poor Finals performance and getting blocked by LeBron James in Game 2.
Splitter will need to put all this behind him as he looks to improve on last year’s performance. This offseason he signed a four-year, $36 million contract to remain with the Spurs. For that type of money, the Spurs expect Splitter to be the second best big in their frontcourt behind Tim Duncan and to be productive on both ends of the floor. Splitter is the biggest question mark in the Spurs starting lineup on offense, so teams will try and force him to be the one to beat them. So what can we expect from him this year?
At this point, it’s pretty clear the type of player Tiago Splitter is in the NBA. He is by no means a star, but he is also by no means Kendrick Perkins. He is a legit seven feet tall and is a solid one-on-one post defender who defends the pick and roll well. He is not a rim protector and has never been more than a mediocre rebounder. He is terrific as the roll man on offense, but he lacks offensive range outside of the paint. He is a finesse player that sometimes plays too soft. Splitter is what he is. For him to prove his worth to the Spurs, he needs to focus on doing these things he does well consistently. He needs to work on his aggressiveness and confidence, especially during the playoffs. Splitter has shown the ability to be a productive big in the NBA, and now he needs to do it long-term.
Tiago Splitter will be an important player for the San Antonio Spurs this upcoming season. He fits what the team does well, and the team has shown they believe in him. Now it’s time for Splitter to prove his worth.