Notes: A native of Brazil playing in Spain for one of the top teams in Europe, Tau Ceramica. Averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg in his first 18 Euroleague games of 2006-07 season. Averaged 9.5 ppg and 4.6 rpg in Euroleague play in 2005-06. Splitter was terrific for the Brazilian national team. He scored 25 points for Brazil in the gold medal game of the 2005 FIBA Americas Men's World Championship Qualifying Tournament.
Averaged 13.2 ppg and 8.6 rpg for the tournament. Splitter declared for the past three drafts. He withdrew in 2004 after he couldn't secure a promise in the lottery. In 2005, he received interest from lottery teams, but concerns about a massive buyout scared teams away from making a promise. So he withdrew again from the draft. Same thing in 2006.
Positives: Splitter's got an NBA body, though he still needs to make it stronger. Most scouts agree that his defense is ahead of his offense right now. He's an excellent rebounder and shot blocker. He does have a nice handle and a good, but not great, jumper. He's very long and runs the floor well. He's a good, but not great, athlete. He's fearless and doesn't mind contact in the paint. His athleticism and coordination are also improving. Despite his youth, scouts say Splitter plays like a 25-year-old.
Negatives: What position does he play? Probably power forward, but he needs to improve his inside scoring if that's the case. A little more strength is needed for him to make the transition to the center.
Summary: His stock was hurt in previous drafts over serious questions about whether an NBA team would be able to buy him out of his contract with TAU. Now he's in automatically because of his age. This year his stock has taken another hit because of his lack of improvement, however his play in the playoffs has improved dramatically. Splitter doesn't have a buyout from his contract with Tau until the summer of 2008, so there's a chance a team will have to wait on him a year. Given the uncertainty about his future and his up and down year, Splitter's stock is still in flux between the late lottery and mid first round.
Great pick for the Spurs. They get a guy who would've gone 10 to 15 picks higher had he been able to come to the NBA right away this year. The Spurs have to wait a year, but when they get him, they'll get a big man who can play in the middle for the next 10 years. Splitter won't be a star, but he'll be a solid pro.