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Spanish Supercup MVP back-to-back, ACB League MVP, ACB League Finals MVP this past summer and All Euroleague first and second team honours – you can not deny Tiago Splitter his rightful place in the NBA.

In 2007, the 6’11 Brazilian was selected in the first round, with the 28th pick to San Antonio Spurs, the then NBA Champions. Splitter though decided to stay in Spain, and signed a two-year contract with Tau Ceramica Baskonia (Caja Laboral). Many wondered if Splitter would side permanently with Europe’s elite league.

In the first week of July, over a month after the rumours disseminated back home that Splitter was leaving Baskonia. He chose to opt out of his contract with the ACB champions – and scribbled his name on the San Antonio’s approved documents – joining fellow Samba boys, Leandro Barbosa and Anderson Verejao in the NBA.

“I’m very happy about my decision. Now though, I want to go and do my job.” Splitter told TalkBasket.net, during the FIBA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

“I am very excited to go to training camp – and overall, be apart of the Spurs franchise. I am very happy with everything that is happening.”

With veteran players, Tim Duncan and Matt Bonner on the Spurs roster this year, and with a combined 19 years in the league between them – life in Texas will not be an easy ride. Splitter promises that he is not going to San Antonio just to make up the numbers.

“I understand it will be tough, but I look at it as an exciting new challenge – and I hope to learn from them when training camp starts.” Splitter commented.

“They (Duncan and Bonner) are good, strong players who know how to win. I am really looking forward to playing with them.”

Getting adjusted to a new league, with a slight change of rules, more games and bigger player’s sounds daunting. But Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich thinks the Brazilian will be a great addition to the league, but he won‘t be a scoring superstar for the time being.

“He’s a really, solid player who’s going to have a great NBA career, but he’s not going to lead us in scoring.” Popovich commented.

John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net

TalkBasket.net will begin it’s NBA blogging this year.