Last offseason, Tiago Splitter signed a four-year, $36 million contract extension with the San Antonio Spurs. When the deal was signed, the extension looked like a massive overpay for an organization that is known for doing quite the opposite. However, by delving into last year’s statistics, Splitter seems ready to break out in the near future for the defending NBA champions.
Last season, Splitter logged an impressive 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the Spurs’ big man also has the ability to pass, averaging 2.5 assists per 36 minutes last year. Splitter is extremely efficient offensively, having never shot below 52.3 percent from the field in his four-year NBA career.
Defensively, Splitter was one of the best interior defenders in the NBA last season. Opponents shot only 44.1 percent at the rim against Splitter, which was good for the 96th percentile among qualifying NBA players. In the first two years of his career, Splitter had trouble avoiding foul trouble, averaging more than four personal fouls per 36 minutes during those seasons.
Over the past two years, however, Splitter seems to have corrected the issue, averaging only 3.1 personal fouls per 36 minutes during that time period. Clearly, Splitter has found out how to limit personal fouls while still producing on the defensive end, something that surely pleases Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs are an organization that has been incredible at developing talent, and Splitter will not be an exception. In a league that does not boast very many two-way players, Splitter’s offensive efficiency and defensive prowess will soon make him a big man well worth the contract extension he signed last summer.