- 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 couldnâ€™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 Spursâ€™ guards arenâ€™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 shouldnâ€™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 Spursâ€™ 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 isnâ€™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.