He may just be a better starter than bench guy. He's a known professional from many leagues, not a low-motor guy who got up for a contract. The Malik Rose situation has no correlation to this. Splitter is larger and more talented than Malik ever was. Malik was a high motor guy who did well when paired with good talent, but was undersized. The Spurs simply saw a chance to get bigger to continue the Robinson - Nesterovic - giant sidekick routine with acquiring Nazr. By the time Malik got his larger contract his strengths were declining due to age and wear. Splitter has never shown anything other than effort, he's just finally in a consistent situation and is reacting accordingly. Some players simply play better with more usage.