San Antonio Spurs' Tiago Splitter has been named to the final roster for the Brazilian national team and will represent his home country at the FIBA Americas Championship in Argentina.
However, Splitter will be the lone player on the roster with NBA experience. Nugget's Nene, Raptor's Leandro Barbosa and Cavaliers' Anderson Varejao will not suit up for Brazil which means Splitter will be bearing most of the load in the tournament. Not to mention the sole big man for Brazil.
"There are high-level players from great teams from Brazil and Europe," explained Tiago.
"The job has to be shared and we will all have to do a little bit better."
Splitter has sat out exhibition games for Brazil due to a thigh injury and muscle spasms. But with the loss of two solid big men - Nene and Varejao - this means Splitter will be getting a lot of attention from opposing teams and taking punishment which hopefully doesn't add to his injuries.
However, despite a weakened team, Brazilian head coach Ruben Magnano is still optimistic on Brazil's chances in the tournament.
"I'm really optimistic," said the Argentina-born coach. "We don't even think about the players that are missing, we have a great team."
The non-inclusion of nba biggies in the brazil team could mean two things to Splitter. First, he losses the chance to learn from Nene and Varejao, and 2nd, the brunt of the burden falls squarely on his shoulders to carry his team. This is another learning curve for him. Hopefully he improves his game so that the spurs coaching staff will use him during crucial stretches, not when the game is already decided for or against the spurs. Its really disheartening to see him riding the bench knowing that his services is very much needed considering the lack of big men in the lineup.Good luck Mr. Splitter.
@rtesoro440 But as much as I love Pop, I know that you saw the same thing that I did. Pop simply refused to play him at all in the Memphis series and it was not his fault. We all saw very early that we were overmatched up front. It was incredibly frustrating watching Dejuan struggle to compete against a seven footer who was simply to big and to good to be guarded by a 6ft7inch post player. I simply believe that Pop was simply to stubborn to admit that he had no choice but to go with tiago.
@rtesoro440 im worried about the wear and taer on him. he has been dealing with soooo many injuries since joining SA and not w/ team brazil. Ughhh!
@JeffProjectSpurs Agreed. Me think he spent soooo much time in europe. He is now 26 running 27. Let's hope he recovers from his injuries and really become a factor in the coming spurs games.