Atlanta Hawks: Offseason Grades

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Mar 24, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler (6) defends against San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Spurs 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Trade for Tiago Splitter

This is absolutely my favorite move of the offseason. The Hawks took advantage of the Spurs quest to clear cap space to sign LaMarcus Aldridge by taking Tiago Splitter off their hands for only a 2017 second round pick and the rights to Georgios Printezis. It’s a deal that worked out for both sides. The Spurs successfully brought in Aldridge and Atlanta was left with an extremely talented center that is already familiar with their offensive system.

He may not seem like a natural fit for an offensive system built around three-point shooting, but Splitter has learned to carve out a role in the system that is perfect for him. That means grabbing rebounds, setting hard screens, making the extra pass and occasionally scoring off of a pick and roll set or a put-back.

Splitter isn’t going to wow you with scoring ability, he only averaged 8.2 points per game last season, but he is skilled enough to put the ball in the basket when he has to. Defensively is where he makes his money. At nearly 7-foot tall he has the length to be a quality rim protector, but he also has the quickness. He can guard centers or power forwards one on one and can also hang around the rim to swat away the shots of penetrating point guards.

The only downside of this deal is Splitter’s injury history. Lately his career has gotten bogged down by various injuries, he has only played in 59 and 52 games respectively in the last two seasons. If he gets hurt the Hawks are left with Mike Muscala and youngster Edy Tavares as their only lengthy big men off the bench. That would be rough for a team that expects to compete for a trip to the NBA Finals.

Of course, if he is healthy then I love this move. Splitter gives the Hawks the ability to throw different looks at their opponents. He can be paired with Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Mike Muscala, and even Mike Scott, giving the Hawks versatility that they didn’t have last season.

Grade: A

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