Tag: Tiago Splitter

San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers

LaMarcus Aldridge says he’s not trying to fill Tim Duncan’s shoes

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There is not going to be another Tim Duncan. Ever. That high-IQ, fundamentally sound game with sustained success throughout his career, the five rings, the two MVPs, the three Finals MVPs, the lifting of one small market franchise up to the summit of the game and keeping it there for 15 years, it’s an incredible legacy.

Nobody understands there is not going to be another Duncan like LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge had his pick of NBA landing spots chose the Spurs, but he wants people to know that stepping into Duncan’s shoes was not in his plans — in part because Duncan is still in those shoes. He talked with Sam Amick of the USA Today about whether he was worried about Duncan’s shadow.

“No, because I’m not trying to be Tim Duncan. I’m not trying to fill his shoes. No one is going to fill his shoes. First of all, he started there and he ended there. I’m not doing that. I didn’t start there. There’s no pressure, because I didn’t start there and I’m not trying to be him. My game is totally different than his.

“I never had any issues with it. I think the media blew it up more, like I’m trying to fill his spot and take his role. I was like, ‘No, I’m trying to be me.’ I feel like me being there with Pop in the system with the guys, I should be ok. That was what I was weighing: Go to Phoenix, be the face and the guy, or go to San Antonio and probably win sooner and be more blended in. That was my issue. And I was like, ‘If y’all want me to come here and average 12 or 13 points, that’s not who I am. I like scoring.’ They were like, ‘No, we want you to play in the system, but you scoring is needed here.’ Once I heard that, I was fine.”

It will be interesting to see how Aldridge’s need for touches and points plays out in the more team-first culture Duncan and Gregg Popovich have built. They do need his scoring, but it’s also about the threat of Aldridge’s scoring that opens up shots for everyone. He has to buy into that team concept for it all to work (and I expect he will).

With that, Aldridge’s scoring may take a slight dip — he will command double teams in the post (and at the elbow, and a lot of other places) and when he passes out of that the Spurs will whip the ball to an open shooter. He’s not just getting a re-post.

What Aldridge brings is an upgrade of Tiago Splitter, a player who can protect the paint and play good defense, and then on the other end scores inside and opens everything up. Aldridge can also pick-and-pop with Tony Parker (and Manu Ginobili). He can knock down midrange fadeaways. There are a lot of options.

And they all work because Aldridge is Aldridge and not Duncan.


Al Horford: “I’m very happy in Atlanta”

Al Horford
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Al Horford will be a free agent next summer, but he’s already shut down speculation about his future. He isn’t going to talk about it until after the season. In a wide-ranging interview with Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, Horford reiterated his stance, but added that he’s happy with the Hawks:

For me, I’m very happy in Atlanta. It’s one of those things where I don’t want any contract talks to be a distraction for my team and me. I feel like my focus this year is for us to build and be better. Since we can’t do anything right now, we’ll wait until the season’s over and then we can start talking about all that.

Horford also spoke about the importance of re-signing Paul Millsap, which the team did in July, and the overall continuity of the Hawks’ roster:

SI.com: How big was it for the Hawks to be able to keep Paul Millsap?

Horford: It was very important. I think that was the priority for us, to make sure we brought Paul back. Being able to add Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway, really was big. Unfortunately, we lost DeMarre [Carroll, who signed long-term with Toronto]—he’s such a great player, but it was the type of thing he couldn’t turn down, and it’s what’s best for him and his family.

SI.com: Was there a sense going into the offseason that you’d only be able to keep one out of Paul and DeMarre?

Horford: I honestly thought there was a chance we’d be able to keep them both. But it just didn’t work out that way. I’m happy for DeMarre, but I’m happy for us, being able to keep Paul, he’s such an important part of what we do. Just his versatility. He makes the game easier for all of us.

SI.com: How critical is keeping that continuity with the core players, especially with the style you guys play?

Horford: I feel like we’ve built chemistry, we trust each other and it’s important to have the same group of guys. This was our first full season, all of us together playing under the system. In coach [Mike Budenholzer]’s first year [2013–14] I was injured. So I’m looking forward to this season to keep building on what we have.

The Hawks had their most successful season in franchise history in 2014-15, winning 60 games and making the Eastern Conference Finals. With the exception of Carroll, the core is returning, and they’ve made some nice additions of role players. Whether they’ll be able to replicate their regular-season success from last year or not, they’re still in the mix as contenders in the East. And as long as that’s true, they remain the favorites to keep Horford next summer.

Brazil basketball team gets bid for 2016 Olympics


Two men’s basketball teams have now qualified for the 2016 Olympics.

The United States clinched a bid to Rio by winning the 2014 World Cup.

Brazil – which was in jeopardy of losing its bid over unreturned library books – received the berth typically given to the host nation.

FIBA release:

Brazil’s men’s and women’s national teams will compete in the Olympic Basketball Tournament at the 2016 Rio Games after FIBA’s Central Board decided to grant them automatic places at its meeting in Tokyo on Sunday.

The decision was made based on the Brazil Basketball Confederation (CBB)’s application which confirms they meet the various sporting requirements, including having a rich sporting history in basketball and being able to guarantee their best teams competing in Rio.

CBB, supported by its partners and the Brazil Olympic Committee (BOC), has made a firm commitment to pay the outstanding debt.

According to FIBA’s statutes, the Central Board holds the right to grant automatic qualification to the host country organising the Olympic Games.

This is obviously great news for Brazil. Nene, Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa, Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo can definitely compete for a medal.

It’s also great news for the other teams competing in the FIBA Americas Championship:

  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Venezuela
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Cuba
  • Uruguay

The top two teams in that tournament, which begins Aug. 31, that haven’t already received an Olympic bid qualify for Rio. With Brazil gaining an Olympic berth now, that opens the door for another team in the FIBA Americas.