- Created on Thursday, 04 July 2013 08:17
- Last Updated on Thursday, 04 July 2013 15:41
- Written by David Rountree
The San Antonio Spurs have opened their offseason with a bit of a bang, signing their starting center to a hefty contract. Splitter now has 9 million (yearly) reasons to improve on his game, and there is plenty room for improvement.
Splitter did make solid strides this season though and proved to be a potent starter for the Spurs. He proved himself to be one of the best centers the team has had in about a decade, and gave the team the size in the middle they desperately needed.
Splitter for the regular season averaged about 11 ppg and 6 rebounds. Unfortunately he couldn’t translate his game or his numbers to the post season; he only averaged 6 ppg and 3 rebounds.
Now with his boost in pay comes a legitimate demand for considerably more production. So what are the top three things Splitter needs to improve on as soon as possible?
- Splitter is excellent at scoring in the pick n roll offense. He is crafty and skilled around the basket but severely lacks scoring versatility. When the Spurs’ guards aren’t feeding him the ball he struggles to score on his own.
- The Spurs need him to work on his post-game desperately. As a seven-footer he should be better at scoring with his back to the basket. Splitter also needs to improve on his outside jumper; it is a necessity in the league today, even for a center.
- Last season he made progress at the free throw line, shooting above 70% for the first time in his career. So the shooting touch is there, adding a jumpshot to his repertoire shouldn’t be difficult.
- Splitter has to build some muscle in the weight room this offseason; he gets bounced around the post way too easily. The NBA is still a physical league and Splitter has had trouble finishing around the rim when contested.
- His method of dunking the ball could also be remedied. He should work on cocking the ball behind his head and then slamming it with two hands, similar to Spurs’ legend David Robinson. Often Splitter exposes the ball on a dunk, which makes it easier for the defender to block it. He needs to protect the ball (with his head) until the exact moment to slam it down arrives.
- Splitter has to rebound the ball at a stronger rate. It would be a game changer for the Spurs if he could rebound in double digits. The Spurs have a potent offense already, scoring is rarely a problem. Rebounding is the true key to success and is what cost the Spurs the NBA Title just recently.
- He averaged about 6 rebounds in 25 minutes in the regular season, which is a solid rate but solid isn’t good enough anymore. Splitter has to rebound in double-digits next season. It would take the pressure off of an aging Duncan and solidify the Spurs front court. Imagine the Spurs having a front court of Leonard/Duncan/Splitter all rebounding the ball at a excellent rate; the team would be a powerhouse on the boards.