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Thread: Tiago Splitter Revisited. Again.

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    Administrator stuart's Avatar
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    Default Tiago Splitter Revisited. Again.

    From FoxSports: link

    Say hello to Tiago Splitter
    Peter Schrager / FOXSports.com

    While most of America will be following the Oden/Durant sweepstakes next Thursday night, there's another 6-11 big man that several hoops fans will be tracking with a careful eye throughout this year's NBA Draft as well.

    Though I've never seen him play in person, I feel like I've known him forever. He's an old friend I've never met; a crony I couldn't recognize in a police lineup.

    Of course, I'm talking about the king of the mock draft — Brazilian center Tiago Splitter.

    Who, you ask?

    Simple enough question. And if you're not a die-hard NBA Draft guy who checks HoopHype.com 10 times a day like it's a disease, eats and sleeps Jeff Goodman's work, and updates his own personal mock draft on a regular basis — you may not be familiar with the name.

    Where's the beef?

    For the rest of Peter Schrager's Weekly Buffet, check out the Weekly Temperature, the Loose Ends and the Mailbag.

    But if you ARE an NBA Draft-aholic, Tiago's part lifelong buddy from overseas/part flakey friend. On the one hand, he's one of the most well known international basketball prospects of his generation. On the other, he's an elusive enigma.

    In truth, Splitter's only 22-years-old. But with the number of years he's been mentioned as an NBA draft prospect, you'd think he honed his skills playing with James Naismith on a peach basket.

    So who is this guy with the funky name? And why does he have more experience with mock drafts than Mel Kiper, Jr. and Chad Ford combined? Well, there are reasons.

    Kinda.

    Splitter is a Brazilian player currently suiting up for the Spanish team Tau Ceramica. Having been in Spain playing ball since the age of 15, his name has been on the tip of scouts' tongues for the greater part of the past decade. A fluid big man who both runs the floor and plays a formidable post, Tiago's averaged more than 10 points in the highly competitive Euroleague, starred on the Brazilian national team, and gotten high praise from some of the top basketball minds in the world.

    He's also been included in every NBA mock draft printed since 2004. Yes, 2004. The same year Dwight Howard and Sebastian Telfair were drafted and Scott Peterson was on trial, Splitter was being rumored as a Lottery pick. Feels like ages ago.

    And yet, somehow, Splitter's STILL not in the NBA. He hasn't even been drafted yet.

    What's the deal? Well, Tiago emerged in '04 as an exciting international talent. Only 19, he erupted during the 2005 FIBA America's Men's World Championship Qualifying Tournament with a 25 point effort in the finals. Already a contributor in the Euroleague, Tiago rapidly emerged as one of the top young international prospects. When the 2004 NBA Draft rolled around, Splitter fished around, but when no team was willing to promise him he'd be a lottery pick, he withdrew.

    He did the same routine again in 2005. Asked around, withdrew.

    Then again in 2006. Rinse and repeat. Enter and withdraw. Three years in a row.

    Now, in 2007, Splitter's finally entering the draft. For real.

    Of course, due to his current contract situation with TAU, he legally cannot play in the NBA until 2008.

    Confused? Frustrated? Welcome to the club. It's like Tiago Splitter is "The Simpsons" movie: some great rumor that we've heard about for a decade, that can't seem to possibly be true. You tell me Tiago Splitter's coming to the NBA, I'm telling you "I'll believe it when I see it."

    Jonathan Givony, the man behind mock draft mega-site draftexpress.com says there's a chance Splitter stays with TAU, even if he is drafted by an NBA team on June 28, "He has a contract for another two years, with a $1 million dollar opt-out clause next summer. If Tau chooses to, they can extend him until 2012 if he doesn't buy himself out."

    Splitter quite possibly may be the most famous international star to never step foot on an NBA court.

    He could also very well be the most highly overrated big man to come along in recent years. Some mock drafts have him listed going in the lottery. Others have Splitter being scooped up in the second round. When asked to compare Splitter to a current NBA player — any of them — Givony chooses P.J. Brown. And if not Brown, then Pacers forward Jeff Foster.

    All these years of waiting, all this hype, all this build-up — all for the next P.J. Brown or Jeff Foster?

    Sam Rubenstein, senior writer at SlamOnline.com, gives his own take on Splitter, noting, "I don't really have strong feelings on Tiago. He's one of those international mysteries that American journalists over-romanticize so that they can make it seem like they are doing work when traveling to Brazil or the outback or the eastern bloc, wherever. Can't blame them for doing it that way and trying to snag an all-expense paid trip to the far reaches of the world in the process."

    And though Rubenstein's kidding around (I think), there's something to be said for the fascination NBA scouts have with young foreign big men. Darko Milicic was taken over Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony in the 2003 draft. Nikoloz Tskitishvili was selected four spots ahead of Amare Stoudemire in 2002. The list goes on. On the other side of the fence, you have the Dirk Nowitzkis and Pau Gasols — legit foreign big men who lived up to their potential and more. When words like "upside," "potential," and "length" are used as the primary adjectives to describe these players' games, it's really quite a crap shoot.

    As for Splitter, I have no idea what he'll be in the NBA. Is he the next great international star? Or the next P.J. Brown? Is he even an NBA player at all? His clip montage on YouTube makes him look fabulous — tough and surprisingly mobile. But what's that even mean? Nine out of 10 high school seniors can put together a nifty mix tape. Checking out YouTube to assess a player's skills is like judging a woman by her Match.com photo. Not exactly impartial. It's the Glamour Shots of game film.

    In the end, some GM is going to draft Tiago Splitter. And after four years of mock drafts, nearly half a century of buzz, and more hype than a summer blockbuster with Jessica Alba, the King of the Mock Draft will finally be linked to an NBA team.

    Of course, we'll have to wait at least another season to see what he's really got.

    At this point, what's another year?

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    thank god his name won't appear in mock drafts anymore


    but he did benefit get drafted by the Spurs

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    I'm hearing that he will re-sign with Tau, is that true?

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    Quote Originally Posted by boo_radley
    I'm hearing that he will re-sign with Tau, is that true?
    Most likely, yes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rikhardur
    Most likely, yes.
    That's what I'm reading from all the sports news sources: ESPN, Fox, Sports Illustrated. It's disappointing for San Antonio. They probably won't be able to bring Javtokas over either, and they already lost Scola. That's three great big men who could really help them next year. Maybe their Ian Mahini will be good, but he's so young.
    "I really like the attitudes of eagles. They never give up. When they grab a fish or something else, they never let it go. It doesn't matter. In a book, they write they find a skeleton of [an] eagle and there is no fish. It means that the fish beat him and killed him, but he didn't let go." -- Donatas Motiejunas

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    A few years ago, they already tried to bring Javtokas and he didn't accept. Then they signed Oberto.

    Still, I think if Splitter wins ACb, why not...
    How much can he earns at the max if he goes to San Antonio?

    Also, He could probably get the start fastly in old Spurs team...
    It's a bird? It's a plane? No, it's Rudy!

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    Spurs is good team for foreigners. I believe Tiago could help Spurs alot and coach will let him play. Javtokas lost his potential after motocrash and would be bench warmer in NBA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Test[banned]
    Javtokas lost his potential after motocrash and would be bench warmer in NBA.
    I do think so too. It wouldn't be a safe bet and besides he's still recovering his game so it's best for him to stay in Europe and have his minutes.
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    Another update on him from DraftExpress:

    Tiago Splitter (the longest player profile in DraftExpress history, at over 16,000 words and counting) continues to improve his game year by year, clearly emerging as one of the best players in European basketball this season, and maybe the top center around. His production is pretty astounding, ranking 3rd and 4th in PER in the Euroleague and ACB respectively, 8th in scoring in both categories, and amongst the league leaders in blocks, steals, free throw attempts and shooting percentage.

    Offensively, Splitter continues to evolve his game, emerging as a real force for Tau Vitoria, to the tune of 16 points per game, on phenomenal percentages. He shoulders a big offensive load for them, and it’s clear that that’s something that is important for him in the way you see him calling for the ball on the left block. Splitter is primarily a low post player, showing an excellent assortment of footwork and spin-moves with his back to the basket, and a very effective jump-hook he can shoot with either hand. He is a little bit old school in that aspect, really putting pressure on his defender to hold his ground as he backs him down aggressively, which draws him quite a few fouls.

    Splitter is extremely aggressive putting the ball on the floor and creating, showing excellent coordination and fluidity, and emerging as a terrific finisher thanks to his great hands and touch. He’s not incredibly explosive around the basket, which may emerge as more of an issue in the NBA (if and when), but with his excellent skill-level and high basketball IQ, he’s about as effective a low-post scorer as you’ll find at the European level. On top of that, he manages to find plenty of scoring opportunities with his ability to run the floor, play pick and roll with the likes of Pablo Prigioni and Igor Rakocevic, and just find open spots around the basket to catch and finish.

    Splitter is finally becoming a more consistent free throw shooter, now making about 66% of his attempts—nearly 10 per-40 minutes pace adjusted. He’s not really showing any kind of mid-range jumper, but probably doesn’t really have to for Tau considering that he’s shooting over 64% from the field.

    Still not a great rebounder, Splitter has become even less prolific in this department on the offensive end this year, which is a relative concern and probably his biggest weakness. He is showing much better awareness in his ability to pass the ball, though, sporting an impressive 1/1 assist to turnover ratio for the first time in his career.

    Defensively, Splitter is obviously a huge asset as we’ve discussed many times, as he has the size, strength and length to be very effective in the low post, but is coordinated and mobile enough to step out and hedge screens with great accuracy. The intensity he displays on this end of the floor tends to get him in foul trouble at times, but this is something that his coach will obviously live with. Splitter is seeing better productivity in the shot-blocking department than in years past, particularly in the Euroleague, where he currently ranks second in blocks per game.

    Obviously a high-level rotation player and likely starter whenever he decides to step foot in the NBA, Splitter has a very difficult decision coming up when his current contract expires in the summer of 2010. The paltry $836,000 he’s slotted to earn from the Spurs on the very cumbersome first round rookie scale can’t compete with the 2.3 million dollars net he currently earns, meaning he’d have to take something in the neighborhood of a 75% paycut for the honor of playing in the NBA.

    Talking to Splitter after the final, he seemed non-committal at best when the topic was broached, although it’s pretty clear that he would love to play in the NBA. “Right now it’s the middle of the season and I’m only thinking about Tau. The Spurs have some good players and we’ll have to see what happens.” In response to my question about whether his slot on the Rookie scale might impact his decision, Splitter obviously didn’t seem too happy with his predicament, jokingly asking me if I could “talk to David Stern about that.” He reiterated that “it’s a dream to play in the NBA,” stating “I’m still young, and for sure I want to play there”, but said that “we’ll see what happens when my contract is up in two years.”

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    Administrator mvblair's Avatar
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    At this point, Splitter's decision must be about money or comfort.

    Obviously, some players just aren't comfortable in the US, which is fine and understandable. Everybody knows this kid could play well in the US, but, like Vazquez, he just might not want to come here. He grew up in Spain and Brazil, so that's where he is comfortable. Fine.

    But the money is the bigger issue. If it's true that he can only make $800,000 if he signs with San Antonio, that's pretty bad. I sure as heck wouldn't do it if Tau or any other club gave me a better deal. Yeah, Oberto and Thomas need help in San Antonio, so Splitter would look good there, but there is no way I would do it if I could be making twice that money.

    Given the financial circumstances, I predict that he won't come to the NBA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvblair View Post
    At this point, Splitter's decision must be about money or comfort.

    Obviously, some players just aren't comfortable in the US, which is fine and understandable. Everybody knows this kid could play well in the US, but, like Vazquez, he just might not want to come here. He grew up in Spain and Brazil, so that's where he is comfortable. Fine.

    But the money is the bigger issue. If it's true that he can only make $800,000 if he signs with San Antonio, that's pretty bad. I sure as heck wouldn't do it if Tau or any other club gave me a better deal. Yeah, Oberto and Thomas need help in San Antonio, so Splitter would look good there, but there is no way I would do it if I could be making twice that money.

    Given the financial circumstances, I predict that he won't come to the NBA.
    I think he already said he would stay until the end of his contract.

    Anyway, he has at least 5 years of pro exp, so, he is far from being a rookie.
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    Does anyone know what Splitter's intentions are after this season? He had signed a one year extension in Spain that will keep him there through this season. Will he come to San Antonio for next season, or is he waiting for Tim Duncan to retire?

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    I would love to see him play in the NBA one day. Hopefully soon while he has at his peak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by each way View Post
    I would love to see him play in the NBA one day. Hopefully soon while he has at his peak.
    Yeah, I would love to see Splitter in the NBA as soon as possible, but maybe he will follow his friend and ex-teammate Scola and head to the NBA with 27 years old.

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    Hoopsmarket says:

    Josean Querejeta, president of Caja Laboral, admitted that Tiago Splitter wants to play next season in the NBA, where the San Antonio Spurs own his rights, and that it will be normal his departure to the United States. The 25-year-old Brazilian center, MVP of the last ACB league, has an opt-out clause to move to the NBA next summer, after averaging 14.2 points and 7.8. rebounds last season. Splitter has been a member of Caja Laboral since 2000.

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    Yeah, it seems that this time he will actually go to the NBA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ¹²³ View Post
    Yeah, it seems that this time he will actually go to the NBA.
    Hopefully he will play alongside with Timmy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    considering how hyped this guy is, those numbers are good but not impressive

    I don't think he will average more than 10 points and 5 rebounds if he comes to the NBA next year, and I'm actually being really optimistic

    Just look at David Andersen as an example. the guy was killing it in Europe, but he hasn't been able to get it together over here.
    No, actually Andersen was not killing it in Europe. He was a good, solid and reliable player, not the caliber of Splitter at all. He was never the star of any team he was with and was never an undisputed starter (not even close). Splitter is different material, watch some videos
    But hey Jennings was not killing it in Europe and guess what happened
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    Everyone that follows the Spurs is waiting with bated breath on a resolution to this situation

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    Finally! It looks like a done deal.

    Report: Tiago Splitter finally coming to the NBA, agrees to terms with Spurs
    Tiago Splitter may not be but a blip on the average NBA fan's radar, but he's about to step into one of the finest organizations in the sport with the potential to make a huge impact. After much delay, Splitter will finally join the Spurs, according to a report by The Ticket 760 in San Antonio, giving Tim Duncan a proper big man running mate for the first time in a long while.

    Even if Splitter doesn't quite make headlines in the LeBron aftermath, this is a huge signing for the Spurs. Antonio McDyess' season wasn't all that productive, and as impressive as DeJuan Blair may be, he was never the ideal candidate for a full-time gig at Duncan's side. Tiago's perfect for the job, and so much a stylistic fit for the Spurs that it's sickening.

    Splitter's signing may not be earth-shaking, but it does have legitimate implications for the rest of the conference. Maybe the rest of the West's second-tier teams won't be goaded into making reactionary moves in the coming days, but the stability and depth the Spurs just picked up mandates their inclusion in any NBA outlook. Gregg Popovich's big three may have one more run in them yet, and with Splitter, Blair, an emerging George Hill, and possibly another acquisition in tow, San Antonio has quietly created a team reminiscent of their title-winning roots.

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