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Hawks draw high praise for 'under-the-radar' acquisition of Tiago Splitter

The Atlanta Hawks improved their frontcourt with the addition of Tiago Splitter, and NBA pundits praised the move.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks have generated mixed reviews (including in this space) for their off-season activity, but the decision acquire Tiago Splitter has been met with generally positive reaction. To that end, Sports Illustrated released a roundtable in which experts were polled on the best "under-the-radar" move across the league this summer, and two writers chose Atlanta's move to nab Splitter from San Antonio.

Ben Golliver had this to say about the trade:

Acquiring Splitter for a protected second-round pick looks like an excellent bargain and a strong use of cap space by the Hawks. Although Atlanta won 60 games and ranked in the top seven in both offensive and defensive efficiency in 2014-15, its rebounding was a persistent problem all year and its interior defense wasn't up to snuff in the Eastern Conference finals. Enter Splitter, 30, a proven rim-protector who ranked in the top 10 at his position in Defensive Real Plus-Minus in each of the last two seasons. A veteran of two trips to the Finals, the 6'11" Splitter also posted a 10.2 offensive rebound percentage last season, a mark that was significantly better than every Hawks player who logged at least 600 minutes.

Because Splitter isn't a "sexy" name in the grand world of free agency, he appears to be underrated by many local fans and media, but Golliver's take is spot-on. The 6-foot-11 big man is an above-average defender and rebounder that will greatly improve Atlanta's overall output in both areas, and the improvement from the likes of Pero Antic, Mike Scott and Mike Muscala to Splitter is enormous.

In the same piece, Rob Mahoney wrote, "for only the inconvenience of committing their cap space early, the Hawks added a nice defender and pick-and-roll finisher to deepen an already effective frontcourt rotation.​" In short, the front office moved swiftly to improve the roster in a somewhat unconventional way, and while they did not "replace" DeMarre Carroll with the addition of Tiago Splitter, depth in the frontcourt is now a real strength that can aid in offsetting the question marks on the wing.

Between the more than reasonable contract (2 years, $17 million remaining) and the extremely low cost to acquire Splitter, the acquisition is a home run, and the NBA world is taking notice, even if the local market hasn't.