Making sense of Tiago Splitter’s lack of playing time

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This post was originally published on December 20. On December 21 it was updated with new information and some dates were corrected with the help of Rodrigo Alves who covers Olympic sports and basketball for the Brazilian sports site Globoesporte.com.

There’s been some confusion in our comments and on Twitter as to why Tiago Splitter hasn’t seen as many minutes as the San Antonio Spurs, and their fans, would like. Allow me to do my best to explain.

There are two primary reasons why Splitter is only averaging 11.2 minutes per game so far this season, and both of those reasons are connected.

The first is because of the schedule Splitter has undertaken over the last few months. Splitter’s final season with Caja Laboral ended on June 15 with an ACB League title over FC Barcelona.

The Brazilian Men’s National Team opened up training camp on June 24 and went until July 8 in Sao Paulo. According to Rodrigo Alves, this training camp was for the South American Championship, and only three players who appeared at the FIBA World Championships were present.

On July 12, Splitter signed a contract with the Spurs and was in San Antonio to finalize the deal. Brazil opened training camp to prepare for the FIBA World Championships on July 19 and on July 27, after finalizing things in San Antonio and getting married, Splitter joined his teammates in Rio De Janeiro.

On August 7 and 8, Brazil took part in the Super Four Basketball Tournament, where Splitter was injured in the team’s first game with a left thigh bruise. Just a few days later, from August 12-15, the Brazilian National Team was in New York City for the World Basketball Festival. There, they played a outdoor scrimmage against the Puerto Rican National Team at Rucker Park.

A couple days later, Brazil played a pair of friendly matches in Logrono, Spainto prepare for the Worlds. On August 16 Brazil took on Argentina and the next day they faced-off against the Spanish National Team. Later that week, Brazil played in the Villeurbanne International Tournament in Lyon, France against France (on August 20), Australia (August 22), Ivory Coast (August 23) and France for a second time (August 24). Splitter played with his Brazilian teammates in the games in France.

On August 28, Brazil played their first game of the FIBA World Championships. Splitter played a total of six games in the tournament, with Brazil’s final game coming on September 7. Apparently in Brazil’s fourth game of the tournament, against Slovenia, Splitter suffered an injury to his right thigh (previous injury was in the left thigh). The injury bother him the rest of the tournament, and even resulted in Splitter coming off the bench in the knockout round against Argentina.

On September 27, the San Antonio Spurs held media day, where Splitter was present. The next day, the team kicked-off training camp and Splitter got his first real taste of playing with the team and learning the system. Unfortunately for Splitter and the Spurs, the big man was injured just two days later on September 30.

That’s a lot of travel and basketball over the summer, at a time when players rest their bodies and work on their game. There’s also two injuries in that span that are probably related to the busy schedule.

“He had some things break down while he was in Europe and then he came here and had the problem with his calf,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said earlier in the season. “I think all in all, his body is probably just telling him to take a break.

“So we don’t want to bring him back and stick him out there for an inordinate amount of time.”

Splitter missed most of training camp, valuable learning time that he is unable to recreate with the season underway.

“Missing training camp really hurt,” Coach Pop said. “There’s so many things that I’d like to do during the game that he’s not going to know what exactly he should be doing.”

I chatted with Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Barry Hecker before the Spurs’ win on Saturday night about a number of things. Speaking about player development, Hecker talked about how little NBA teams get a chance to practice, saying that there’s almost no 5-on-5 scrimmaging during the season, especially for a veteran team like the Spurs.

Coach Pop agrees with Hecker’s assesment.

“Practices in the NBA aren’t what you might want them to be or as available or often as one would like,” Popovich said.

With no time to practice during the season, it’s almost impossible for Splitter to catch up on the things he missed. And if there’s anything we’ve learned from Gregg Popovich over the years, it’s that he values corporate knowledge.

Watching Splitter out on the floor, mainly on the offensive end, you can see why his playing time is limited. While he shows flashes of the basketball IQ that draws comparisons to Fabricio Oberto, he sometimes appears lost on the offensive end. In these moments, he resembles a five-year-old playing soccer, just following the ball from player-to-player.

Granted, a lot of his job description includes setting picks for the player with the ball, but the timing for those picks isn’t the same that Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Antonio McDyess and Matt Bonner have.

Splitter will slowly learn the system as the season goes on, playing a little at a time and watching film to correct mistakes. But the learning curve is steep and one that can’t be conquered without some good, old fashioned practice time. Unfortunately for the Spurs, we may not see how effective Splitter can truly be for San Antonio until next season.

“I can’t just go and experiment and give him 30 minutes to get him going,” Coach Pop said. “It’s not fair to him or to the whole group.

“It’s just got to happen slowly and we’ll see what’s required as far as the team is concerned because that’s what I have to look at.”

  • TDzilla!

    @ Hobson13

    “The Mavs have Dirk, Chandler and Haywood. That’s three 3 footers who are NBA caliber starting big men. Come back to reality.”

    3 footers are small, you might be talking about 7 footers….hehe

  • Gebo

    I think the best we could do in a trade to get a defensive minded 7 footer would be to get a middle of the road player. No one is likely to trade a premier 7 footer to us. They are the most desired commodity in basketball. With our new middle of the road big we would still be underdogs to the Lakers, Celtics, and Mavs. To win a championship we are going to have to beat several teams that, on paper, are better than we are. In last years playoffs, we beat the Mavs because we outplayed them. Likewise, the Suns handed us our butts because they outplayed us.
    To win an NBA playoff series you must outplay your opponent four times over a two week period. Do that four times and you are the Champions. We can do it.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @ BigJ

    I haven’t met Sheridan, but that statement does seem like a solid exaggeration.

  • ribanez

    Chris Sheridan’s vote for Karl Malone merely reflects his opinion. However, when you match Tim Duncan’s skills and accomplishments vs Karl Malone’s the former wins hands down. Malone’s midrange jumper and free throw shooting may have been better but in every other category Tim is superior. If you had to start a team, everything else being equal, who do you select a 6’9 forward with Malone’s skills or a 7 footer with Tim’s skills. TD is the answer for me.

  • td4life

    Gebo–

    I do not think that even a “middle of the road defensive 7-footer” is available,” is that Nzar or Kwame? Doesn’t matter though b/c the Spurs aren’t gonna do it. Blair and Splitter’s improvement can get you to the middle of the road, I suppose. Otherwise, I completely agree with what you are saying.

    If Timmy plays with hunger, hunger, and more hunger, and understands that he has to go out there and take the playoff w’s like he did in Game 7 versus Detroit, if he understands that he has to be The Man of this team in that situation, and justifies all the rest they are giving him right now, if he understands that he is THE key to this group getting a championship, then they can get it done. It has to be a case of “never underestimate the heart of a champion” because, you are right Gebo, they will be underdogs in more than one series. Manu is incredible, but so has Steve Nash long been… Timmy will have to be his sustained best when it counts, and embellish his legend.

  • STK1

    LMAO!

    …”Not fair to the team..”? What’s fair? Letting the Gasol’s and KG’s of the league abuse little orphan Annie and ride off into the sunset with another ring, while Tim’s legacy is crapped on during what could be his last season?

    Phil Jackson was right about Pop: he’s the leader of a simulator crew that doesn’t know anything about basketball. If Pop was as good a coach as everyone says he’d figure out a way to integrate Tiago into the system.

    Splitter or a trade is the only thing that gets the Spurs past LA and Boston. Only homers will argue otherwise.

  • badger

    Why do people put the Lakers and the Celtics on such a pedestal? Sure, they have veterans who know how to win championships, but so do we!! Bigs are one piece of the puzzle, but the analysis doesn’t begin AND end with bigs.

    Gebo is 100% correct. Aside from the 1 seed v. 8 seed, or possibly the 2 seed v. 7 seed games, the team that wins ANY playoff series is the one that out hustles the opponents, out rebounds them, plays all out on D, especially help defense, breaks up the passing lanes for 48 minutes, makes that extra pass, gets a little piece of the shot, if not a blocked shot, knocks the ball off the other players’ leg, etc. etc. for the entire series.

    I have a really hard time believing that the Lakers and Celtics aren’t looking at the Spurs and thinking about what our team can do to them in a playoff series. Really.

    Let’s just keep taking these games one at a time. Let’s keep finding ways to win and thus secure home court advantage for as much of the playoffs as possible. Let’s keep playing 10 or 11 guys every night, including Anderson when he returns. Let’s keep sharing the ball and developing all of our bench players, so that their playoff performance will be what it needs to be. Let’s keep RJ on the attack, TP and GH pushing the break, Bonner and Neal bombing from deep, and the bigs will do their very best to contain the other team’s bigs in the playoffs.

    There’s no reason why the Spurs cannot continue their winning ways, all the way to the 5th ring!

  • spursgermany

    @badger


    I have a really hard time believing that the Lakers and Celtics aren’t looking at the Spurs and thinking about what our team can do to them in a playoff series. Really”

    100 % total agreement

    But there still time playoffs, let us just keep winning as a team and make sure every player of this roaster would step in a playoff series and contributes

    God Bless You All

  • Tim in Surrey

    I’m with td4life–Whether you want a trade for a big man or not (personally I’m cool with our roster, barring injuries), it’s simply not going to happen. I mean, seriously, does anybody actually think Pop and R.C. are working hard to make a trade right now? Do you guys really think we can get an effective big man for $.10 on the dollar when guys like Darko and Amir Johnson were so massively overpaid this summer, simply because they were big and MIGHT be effective? Besides, even if I thought our bigs were inadequate (which I really don’t), I’m not really thrilled about the idea of making a trade when the team is winning a historically high percentage of its games. Sure, the season is still pretty young (last night’s game marked one third of the season) and the early schedule has been relatively easy (eighth easiest in the league before this weekend). But 24-3 is pretty spectacular. I’ve been watching the league a LONG time and the list of teams that have had such a streak is very short and very distinguished, regardless of how easy the schedule was. As John Hollinger put it in his chat last week, when asked whether the Spurs should make any moves:

    “moves? They’re 20-3? Seriously? I like the Spurs’ front line quite a bit with Splitter in the mix, because now they can match up big or small in a way they couldn’t before. This should really help them against L.A. in particular.”

    About the Mavericks: I’m as concerned about their front line as those of the Lakers and Celtics, although for very different reasons. Tyson Chandler is pretty effective on defense, but he’s not exactly Dwight Howard. And Haywood? Well, he has his contract now, so he has returned to his disinterested style of play. (Hell, in 1999 I was in the building in Seattle when North Carolina lost to Weber State largely because Haywood couldn’t even be bothered to care about an NCAA tournament game!) But if you’re counting Dirk and Marion as big men, they are a different matter altogether. The reason why, though, is because they don’t always play the way you expect big men to play–which is why some of the posters didn’t count Dirk. He is, essentially, a 7’0″ small forward. That’s why there have been so many comparisons to Bird and Durant and it’s why, in the same way that Tony Parker is Laker kryptonite, Dirk is Spur kryptonite. And Marion is a small forward who is strong enough and tough enough to play like a true power forward. They both cause so many mismatches…

    There has also been a lot of attention paid to the Mavs’ zone today. (Of course, nobody noticed it until they used it against Miami…) It does work pretty well with Brenson Chandwood at the middle of it and Dwayne Casey running it from the sidelines. But I think it will prove to be the defensive equivalent of the Hawks/Trailblazers isolation offense in the playoffs. In other words, it works really, really well in the regular season when there isn’t time to adjust to individual schemes each night, but very poorly in the playoffs when you play one team over seven games. Well coached teams that shoot and pass particularly well, like the Spurs and the Jazz, will tear that zone to shreds in a long series. And while it covers for the slow feet of Nowitzki, Haywood and (these days) Chandler, frankly it limits the effectiveness of some of Dallas’ quicker defenders.

    The one guy on our front line that everyone seems to have overlooked, though, is Richard Jefferson. We really do need to start counting him as our sixth big man, especially since he has played more minutes at PF than Blair or Splitter. He’s the one guy we’ve got who can match up with Nowitzki and Marion both inside and out and his shooting will really punish that zone.

    Just my $.02…

  • Peter

    Two things that have been said here need to be corrected.

    First, Splitter was never even remotely close to being “the best center in Europe”. Where does all of this nonsense come from? He was maybe a top 10 center in Europe, somewhere around 7-10 maybe. He might have even been more like top 15.

    No way in freaking hell was he “the best center in Europe”.

    Secondly, Splitter was never the “first option on the Brazilian national team”. Nene, Marcelo Huertas, Varejao, Machado, Garcia have been at one time or another the “the first option on Brazil’s national team”. Never once has Splitter been it though.

    Some Spurs fans need to get real and get a grip on reality. Splitter, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez all = 3 players that are/were nothing more than solid role players in Europe at the level of any big Euroleague club and for some incredibly strange and absolutely bizarre reason NBA fans in the US are convinced they were some kind of stars.

    You could pick 30-50 players in Euroleague that are better than they are. I think NBA marketing has reached the point of no return with how absurd this nonsense has gotten that Spurs fans are absolutely convinced that Splitter was some great player in Europe. Seriously, get a clue already.

    There are/were some truly great players in Euroleague over the years like Papaloukas, Scola, Navarro, Jasikevicius, Spanoulis, Siskauskas, Diamantidis, Bodiroga and there are a couple guys that have a chance maybe to become players on that level eventually like Teodosic and Bourousis (although they are on not that level or that good yet)……….

    but Splitter? Please do not make laugh. He was always a 3rd tier level player in Euroleague. Spurs fans are seriously delusional with the absurd overrating they do on the level of Splitter.

  • The Beat Counselor

    @ badger

    Boston and LA have significantly more proven talent than our big 3 +RJ + McDyess. Tons of veteran depth and lots and lots of length.

    Don’t get me wrong, our team is a very likable team. It’s really quite brilliant what the front office has been able to pull off with their roster and Pop with his new offensive system.

    And I think we have really good chemistry on this team. But so does Boston. They’re decimated with injuries…, their starting All Star PG is out, they have 3 centers injured not to mention Delonte West.

    And they’re on a 13 game win streak. Do you think the Spurs could survive win 13 in a row if JUST Parker was out?

    What it comes down to is:

    Its Pop’s new small market motion 3pt offense (with better than average defense) vs. the NBAs version of the Yankees and Red Socks. And the revamped Mavericks.

    We’re in the mix, but we’re not the favorites if we assume every team’s healthy.

    But we got spunk and character and I love this team. Splitter, Blair, Anderson all need to develop. Neal and Bonner need to keep the consistency they’ve been playing with.

    If we can do that, and play smartly enough every night that we can blow out teams so that we can rest our Big 5 (Dyess not Blair), we’re in for at least an entertaining post-season.

    But doesn’t saying all that just jinx things?

    That’s why nitpicking is so much better on these blogs…it’s the reverse jinx.

    What……..do you actually think that if we wish hard enough and are good enough people, we can WILL our team to win?

    That’d be cool.

  • mikrobass3

    didn’t see this idea mentioned–here’s my vision of how the spurs brass picture splitter: they are gambling that he will replace duncan’s position in the lineup. i.e., in 2 or 3 years, duncan starts, plays 15-18 minutes a game…tiago is the workhorse of the team, finishing games and complementing parker, ginobili, and jefferson. in this way duncan becomes robinson of years past, and splitter becomes duncan of years past. (quite the gamble!)

    my guess is they won’t risk blowing the next ten years of the franchise’s future for this one year, especially since this team enjoys at least a puncher’s chance in a 7-game series against anyone they would meet in the conference or league finals.

    this means no trades this year. it also means working tiago in slowly, probably during the rodeo road trip at the soonest. maybe.

  • Chris

    I actually don’t mind at all that Pop is limiting Splitter’s minutes at this point in the season. Pop is an excellent coach, but two things he does extremely well are (1) limiting player’s minutes over the long haul and (2) giving players minutes in the right situations.

    On the first point, I think Splitter will see increasing minutes towards the end of the year as he gets more acclimated to the system. And, if the Spurs have a top 4 seed pretty much locked up in March or April, I expect Pop to rest TD a fair amount. That means that Splitter will likely get more minutes as his game most resembles Duncan’s of the remaining bigs.

    On the second point, I fully expect Splitter to be inserted in the lineup against the likes of the Lakers and Celtics during the playoffs. If the Spurs need to match size with size, he is an option. Pop is not afraid at all to have a player a DNP — coaches decision against one team, and yet play significant minutes against other teams. Unlike most NBA coaches that play their top 8 or 9 guys no matter the opponent, Pop will actually play everyone if the situation calls for it.

    As for Peter’s comments that Splitter was not the best center in Europe, I take issue with that. There may have been better pure scorers and better defensive centers, but none have the combination of both that Splitter has. He has NBA size, and he has good hands, good feet, and good instincts. Those skills translate well to the NBA.

    I’m not saying he will be a dominant NBA center, but he is not a stiff at all. And, if you compare to last year’s team, Splitter is a HUGE upgrade over Ian Mahinmi — and Mahinmi is the third big on the Mavericks this year.

  • miggy

    @Peter

    At least Splitter’s line was better than Verejao’s in fewer minutes against the Cavalier’s. I know it’s not much to go on, but it’s all that I have.

  • miggy

    If memory serves me, haven’t we worked a big into our system in the past mid season and been successful (Nazr)? I think the whole missing the pre-season has it’s merits, but I’m sure Tiago can be worked in. I hope he gets more playing time soon.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    I think people are really focusing on the wrong things here. There is absolutely NO point in talking about matching up with the Celtics. Who cares? Both the Spurs AND Celtics would each have to win three 7-games series (probably beating Miami, Orlando/Chicago, LA and Dallas) just for them to get the off chance of facing each other in the playoffs. You don’t make risky chemistry-changing trades on unlikely events like that.
    Also, Dallas has two quality bigs; total. Dirk is a 7-foot perimeter player, who normally gets defended by a mobile forward in the playoffs. A defensive minded 7-footer is completely wasted gaurding him. Haywood and Chandler are solid, but they seldom play together and are a bit redundant. That means, Haywood should tear up the second units of other teams, but they are both Centers only. Tim Duncan can easily gaurd either one of them, and Dirk (or Marion at the 4) will likely be gaurded by Jefferson or another forward.
    Also, I don’t think the Spurs have a problem in the front-court overall. They have five guys, with a lot of different skill-sets, in order to fill 96 minutes of playing time. That’s 5 guys who are averaging double-digits now. And that 96 minutes drops every time Pop goes to small ball. Despite all the hand-wringing, I think their front-court is fine. They absolutely don’t need any panic trades for mediocre cast-aways, and during the few scenarios when they actually need two 7-footers to defend somebody (and that will be a very rare scenario – believe me), Antonio and Tiago will be fine covering the opponent’s 2nd big. The Spurs have an insanely deep and talented roster. And their current record is equally insane. Lighten up, people. Enjoy these good times. GSG.

  • Flavor

    THANK YOU: Bry, Badger, & Gebo… I didn’t feel like typing up a big responce to everyone. You guys hanlded that very well and I agree with all three of your posts.

  • @rptognolo

    Splitter *was* a top shelf center in Europe. Maybe not *the* best one but certainly a top tier guy.

    And Splitter *was* the best player in the Brazilian squad. In my book Huertas and him were the players with the best fundamentals. Splitter was very solid on the defensive end (protecting rebounds, drawing charges, rotating, doing all the little things) and hustled a lot (at least as much as Varejão). In the offensive end he could score 1-1 against International opposition and be Brazil’s best option. So he was at least as good as Varejão on D and better than Nenê on the offense. Nenê really never committed fully to playing for Brazil, often showing out of shape and was always so-and-so.

    In the NBA I feel Coach Pop is being really wise in limiting Splitter’s minutes. He’s been burned before, having a veteran team decimated by injuries in the playoffs, so he’s treating the situation accordingly. He still can’t measure if Tiago is going to be a factor for his team, but at least he’s giving himself (and Tiago) a chance to try.

    So when the end of the season and the playoffs come, we may see if Tiago is going to be a real player in the NBA. For once, he’s not going to have the size advantage he had in Europe (players there are a bit smaller and less athletic). He’s also will have to deal with the different officiating standards, and once he’s adapted to the regular season standards, he’ll have to get used to the playoff standards. Last, he’ll have to adapt to being a productive role player and a 3rd option in offense at best.

    Working for him, he has a really sound fundamentals base that he shouldn’t abandon. The NBA playing style will tempt him to do that (for instance the continuous temptations to leave his player on D to attempt fortuitous shot blocks), but if he sticks to his game, he’ll be rewarded. In my book he has a good baskteball IQ – absolutely not in the Oberto/Scola/Manu level but good nevertheless – and that should be enough for him to learn and pick his scoring opportunities.

  • td4life

    Peter–
    “I think NBA marketing has reached the point of no return with how absurd this nonsense has gotten that Spurs fans are absolutely convinced that Splitter was some great player in Europe”

    NBA marketing? You are referring to NBA beat writers throughout the North American media, who are not scouts, and take shortcourts in their research, and often rely on hyperbole. If a league is promoting the guys you mentioned, it’s the Spanish ACB league, not the NBA that couldn’t give two farts about Tiago Splitter. Rubio is another story, and Nike bought into the hype along with ESPN, but it’s not the NBA that hypes these players… so you just come across as belligerent and arrogant, with a chip on your shoulder. Americans may be misinformed regarding the Spanish league’s reputation as the “best league outside of the U.S.” but that has little to do with NBA marketing practices.

    As for Splitter, having three MVP awards makes it easy to think he is an elite player in Europe. And coming of a championship usually counts for something, as well. I also seem to remember him being the premier bigman for the Brazilian team during the FIBA Pan American Tournament in Las Vegas… second in both scoring and in minutes played behind Barbosa, and well ahead of Nene. While also leading that team in rebounding and blocked shots.

    You obviously have a some kind of agenda about the world basketball scene, and thus your criticism is more of an emotional rant than anything else, and largely meaningless. All I can take away from your post is that there are many good players, and, as in any sport, naming who is “best” is a subjective and infinitely arguable (and largely meaningless) past-time… basketball isn’t some sort of “Pop Idol” popularity contest, after all, it’s settled in wins and losses (by teams!) in the playoffs. The other take-away we are left with after reading your rant, is that the international leagues have some loyal fans who would like to believe, possibly with a healthy dose of anti-American fervor, that the NBA and it’s athletes are blindly over-rated. Until those leagues merge and create a solid rival to the American model, such fandom is an exercise in frustration. I’m pretty sure Dirk, Nash, Ginobili, Scola, Gasol, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kobe, Paul Pierce, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc would dominate over there.

  • Ed

    I appreciate knowing why Splitter isn’t playing, at least it makes sense now. As far as Peter and is rant? Yeah, 3rd tier role players win MVP awards multiple times regularly. Who’s delusional?

  • SPURZ

    @ junierizzle it’s the NBA buddy, not highschool basketball, 82 games in a season is allot of wear and tear, even if the spurs could get more practice time im sure coach pop would not have to many 5 on 5’s, cuz more wear and tear, the players get enough wear and tear during the season games.

    @ the beat counselor your right about taking charges and blocked shots, good post my friend.

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  • Zoran

    Spurs fans have no European basketball knowledge. “Splitter’s 3 MVP awards” blah, blah, blah.

    Not one of those awards means jack. Tell me how many Euroleague MVPs Splitter has…..

    a big fat ZERO.

    In NBA terms it would be like you are bragging about a guy winning D-League awards because that is how much those MVP awards of Splitter’s mean in Europe.

    They are like winning some D-League award.

    This whole discussion has pretty much proved that Spurs fans don’t know anything about basketball outside of the NBA.

    The ONLY MVP awards that anyone cares about or that matter at all in Europe are Euroleague MVPs. Splitter never won any and was never even nominated for any.

    If you knew literally ANYTHING about European basketball you would NEVER bring up his “MVP” awards………….

    Every serious European basketball fan would just laugh at this discussion.

  • China

    Actually Zoran, you are wrong!!!! In Euroleague Splitter was 3 times ALL FIRST TEAM….and wtf is that thing of only Euroleague matters in Europe? And you are saying that everyone else doesn’t have a clue about basketball outside NBA ? REALLY ?? YOU ARE INCLUDED IN THIS MY FRIEND!!! ACB(SPANISH LEAGUE) is the BEST NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE OUTSIDE THE NBA…and Splitter have just won the MVP on the regular season and the FINALS MVP in this league!!! Also leading his team to the championship over THE EUROLEAGUE CHAMPION(SO THAT’S MEANINGFUL IN YOUR VISION RIGHT?)…and also this team(BARCELONA) put A LOT MORE MONEY in its team than Splitter’s former team….so at the same time Barcelona had 12 PLAYERS that would start for ANY TEAM in Europe…Caja Laboral just had SPLITTER as the only guy who really could START for ANY EUROPEAN TEAM….
    ohhhh and the biggest thing: THE LAST PLAYER TO WIN THE MVP IN THE REGULAR SEASON AND THE FINALS IN THE ACB LEAGUE BEFORE SPLITTER DID WAS ARVYDAS SABONIS!!!!

    YEAH IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING WHAT HE DID IN EUROPE… like you said… he was just a d-league player there…
    lol

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