San Antonio Spurs' Tiago Splitter is gaining league wide recognition not only for his improved play, but also for his selection for the Rookie-Sophomore game that will be held during All-Star weekend.
He's showing a major improvement from last season as he's currently averaging 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 63% shooting from the floor. Splitter is the go-to post player in the Spurs' second unit and he's now closing out games alongside Tim Duncan. Tony Parker and several of Splitter's teammates have already gloated about how easy it is to play with Splitter in the pick-and-roll.
The international sports site Lancenet.com recently caught up with Splitter in a telephone interview. In the interview, Splitter talks about why he's improved so quickly this season, his remarkable free throw shooting change, and where he sees Brazil in the 2012 Olympics.
Splitter on increased production this season:
Above all, the number of minutes. May be in court for more time. It makes you feel important, really like a part of the team. It's all a matter of having confidence. Last year we had only minutes at the end, when the game was won or lost.
Splitter on being the focal point of the Spurs' second unit:
My role is to come from the bank, bringing points in the second unit and that's what I'm trying to do.
Splitter on his chemistry with this years club, as opposed to last seasons team:
The group knows me better, know what are my negatives and positives. When you know better, everything is easier.
Though Tim Duncan was not selected for the All-Star team, Splitter discusses Duncan's continued success:
It is really spectacular, he has the patience to play the way he reads each situation and quality of it. That's why he is one of the best wings pivot of history. Even with the age he is (35 years), continues to give work.
Splitter on his improved free throw shooting this season:
After Mar del Plata devoted many hours to practice throwing with Tim Duncan and other partners. I am now reaping the fruits of this work.
Manu Ginobili already has an Olympic Gold medal, so, Splitter said Ginobili is his main go-to man for advice on the 2012 Olympic games in London
I talked with Ginobili. He told me that in the Olympics, it is easier to win medals than in the World. They are less games. So if you are well on two, three games, you're already in a semifinal. It is a fast and balanced competition. If we get good, strong team with a round, we can achieve something.
One thing Splitter is facing for the first time, is a compressed 66-game regular season. For Splitter, he relates it to futbol, you know, soccer.
It's like playing a World Cup in four months.