Originally written November 21, 2012 on Project Spurs:
After the New York Knicks defeated the San Antonio Spurs on November 15 in San Antonio, Gregg Popovich said the following of his oft struggling third year Brazilian big man. "It is huge because he was shooting 80 percent for most of the season. This is great for his confidence to shoot the ball like that (versus Knicks). Hopefully he can keep it going."   This season we've seen a different Tiago Splitter with more aggression on the defensive end, better position for rebounding, and looking to score more often around the basket compared to prior seasons. Before the Spurs play the Boston Celtics for the first time this season on November 21, Splitter's free throw average is on par with last year's percentage so far (2011-2012: 0.691%, 2012:2013: 0.692%) and is on pace to surpass his career high attempts in his NBA career from last year with 26 attempts so far (2011-2012: 181 attempted free throws).   Coach Pop is definitely hitting on the main reason for Tiago's success so far. He isn't an overly aggressive player like a Dwight Howard or Amar'e Stoudemire where you can pick and roll or hand him the ball in the paint for a strong move to punish the other team by forcing them to foul. He's one dimensional on offense so far with a finesse mentality under the rim for the majority of the time. On defense, he gets pushed around a bit by stronger or heavier players and isn't the shot blocker he should be with his height and athleticism. His overall worst quality is (or was) his free throw shooting and, even if he's currently at 69% he knows he can hit at least 80% of his free throws. That allows him to be more confident streaking to the basket or being aggressive on the ball because he knows he can make free throws if he's fouled.   This should be great news for Spurs fans seeing as Tiago has largely disappointed since he had high expectations of playing closer to how he played as Most Valuable Player of the Spanish League Finals back in 2010 than how he has. This is definitely a step in the right direction. If Splitter is being more aggressive on both ends because of free throw making confidence, one can only wonder what will happen if he gets confidence from his overall offense or defense next. For Spurs fans, it can't come soon enough. Luckily for Tiago, he has some extra time bought for him by the Spurs' Big 3 and role players who are currently playing in a system where every player on the court can show their skills on the court individually and as a team.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Miguel Cabrera turns down playoff bonus from Tigers

Rich Gannon blasts Raiders personnel: ‘They’re stealing’

Suspended KeiVarae Russell: Notre Dame becoming ridiculous

Antrel Rolle: Amukamara improved after losing virginity

High school football player dies after suffering head injury

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

GALLERY: Derek Jeter tops list of athletes with weird phobias

WATCH: LeBron James makes one special Cavs fan’s night

10 most shocking developments so far in 2014 NFL season

WATCH: Matthew McConaughey gives pep talk to Longhorns

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

GALLERY: Athletes and odd phobias

Amukamara better after lost virginity?

H.S. player dies after suffering head injury

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.