Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius
i'll agree with you that he was a big deal, but did he play as aggressive as he is now over there? Europe is known as a softer country when it comes to basketball. there was a rumor or report a bit ago that the guy couldn't even bench 25lbs on each side, that's extremely weak for anyone who wants to be fit.
my point with that is the guy gets pushed around. he really had no motivation to play this hard as before. since you take to know Splitter better than most (from ur post), let me ask you this from a basketball stand point and not from a Splitter argument:
1. how does the "level of comfort" matter with rolling to the basket?
the guy would set perfect screens from the start, except this time he's running to the basket and putting a shot up. before this season, he didn't use a reverse layup, something he uses consistently now. when he gets the ball in the paint, he puts up the shot quickly off the glass instead of the last 2 years where he'd second guess everything. i seriously doubt his comfort level with the team would effect if he'd put up the closest shot on the court as fast as he could unless he thought he should pass it.
2. how does a lack of minutes (even though he'd average 10+mpg) make a difference on his style of play?
i can get why Bonner would be effected because he has to shoot to get comfortable, the only thing he's known for. Tiago is different, he doesn't have to get into rhythm to play because he doesn't shoot. He got a few starting assignments next to Duncan vs. the Grizzlies 2 years ago and he still didn't show anything after Pop gave him the chance.
if Tiago's reasoning for "getting better" is that he's starting, that would make a boatload more sense because he might not be a bench player (i.e. Hedo in 2004), but that still wouldn't explain the many times he has started in the last 2 years where he didn't show anything close. The Spurs were still looking to run and they still needed help on the inside because Duncan has been a jump shooter for the past 3 years.
the level of play in Europe isn't the same. if it was, a lot more players would have an easier transition to the NBA. while we think the NBA has "gotten soft" lately, it's still stiffer than Europe will probably ever be. i'm pretty sure there hasn't been a Dwight Howard or Z-Bo type player who's abused Splitter in the past before. maybe the guy finally went to the gym to get stronger, who knows?....but the argument that he's "finally" comfortable in a scheme that all he's been asked to do is pick and roll on offense or cut to the basket after 2 years isn't legit at all.
Playing time effects all the players, not only shooters. When the player knows that he has 25 minutes in the field, he doesn't afraid to make mistakes. But if he knows he has only 12 minutes, he can't feel comforted. It's human psychology.
In some points, you're right. TSplitter's body was not strong when he came to NBA. But it's not about playing hard in NBA and soft in Europe. If you watch EuroLeague games, you will see that they're harder than NBA regular season games.(In play-off it changes) But playing hard doesn't mean having physical condition, all the guys are keeping pressure to the player whom they defend. But physical conditions of players in NBA are much better than Europe. (82 games, 48 minutes etc).
It's not easy to adapt NBA after 25 years old. It's not easy to become a deep bench player after being a star of his own team. It's not easy to understand Spurs system in defense and offense. It's not easy to defend the big bodies in NBA when coming from Europe. These were biggest sttruggles for Splitter.
But Splitter is a smart guy, he waited and learnt. Now he has started to produce. Yes his contract is expiring this year. But if it wasn't expiring, it wouldn't change Splitter's current improvement too much. Maybe money is a motivation, but is a small factor in Splitter's case.