Playing Al Horford 10 times last season gave Brad Stevens valuable insight
Horford fits seamlessly into Brad Stevens‘ system – one that is similar to what Mike Budenholzer implemented with the Hawks. But he also adds two special facets that the Celtics need: rim protection and a franchise-altering player.
Out of all the Celtics’ big men, Amir Johnson averaged the most blocks, with 1.1 this past season. But Al Horford averaged 1.5 swats per game last year, as well as 2.4 in the playoffs. They are not outstanding numbers, but definitely an upgrade.
He is a respected presence in the league, and gives the Celtics another star to pair with Isaiah Thomas, and the younger players that the team continues to develop.
Brad Stevens noticed all these last season, and playing against Horford’s team 10 times gave the Celtics more time to examine the Hawks and the way they used their center. It makes the move a no brainer, according to Vice Sports’ Michael Pina:
We played [Atlanta] ten times [last season], so we had a pretty good idea of what they were doing and they had an idea of what we were doing,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told VICE Sports. “One of the reasons we went after Al really hard on day one was because we thought that he fit in really well with how we play.
Horford has spent his whole NBA life in Atlanta. His career started in 2007 after being drafted 3rd overall. He averaged 15.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks this last season.