I know we’ve all been anxious to see Tiago Splitter play for the Spurs, but it looks it will have to wait a little bit longer. Popovich has already named DeJuan Blair the starting center for the opener, and Splitter’s foot injury will likely keep him from suiting up at all right away. It makes sense to not rush him into action, but it is definitely frustrating to wait a few years for a draft pick to finally make his way to the league only to be sidelined almost immediately. This is good news for fantasy drafts though, since most people will not want to take a flier on a Euro-league import who hasn’t made any noise in pre-season due to injury. That will leave him available for late round draft picks for the more savvy among us.
To get a good idea of how likely it is that Splitter will play in the opener, here is what Popovich had to say: “Sure, it’s definitely in the realm of possibility,” he said. “It’s also possible I might play.”
I don’t take that as much of an endorsement that we should count on seeing either of them in a jersey until maybe a few games into the season, and then only Splitter. Although, Pop probably couldn’t shoot any worse than Roger Mason did last season.
McDyess did have some nice words to get fans excited about Splitter’s eventual court time.
“Today was the first day I saw him get out there and shoot the ball,” forward Antonio McDyess said. “He’s got a nice little touch to him. He picks up on the plays very easy and very quick. That’s very impressive, for a guy to come in and learn this system.
“I’m just as eager as the fans are, just to see what he has. He looks like a guy who can really play. It’s going to be exciting for him to get on the court, and I can’t wait for it to happen.”
I guess we’ll have to live with that for now, but I am sure the Spurs can handle the Pacers in their first game of the season. I just hope Tony Parker doesn’t roll his ankle in the first quarter.
Oh yeah, I also got the NBA preview magazine from Sports Illustrated (finally). They have the Spurs ranked 3rd in the West behind the Lakers (1) and Thunder (2). That means, of course, that the Spurs are ranked #1 in the division. I’ve seen a few writers who rank the Mavs higher, and I’ll at least concede that that”s debatable based on talent. What I don’t get is how a writer or two have Houston ranked higher than the Spurs. If you see this anywhere, immediately write that person’s opinion off. They know not of what they speak. There is no way Houston outperforms San Antonio this season. Yao won’t play but 20-something minutes a game, Ariza – their best perimeter defender who they signed when they let go of Artest – is long gone, and Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin can score, but can’t guard me. Yeah, I said it.
But aaaanyway… go Spurs.. and Texas Rangers.