Photo: Quisqueya Peach
By: Patrick Whalen
3 years ago the Celtics made their first big addition to building their title contender by signing Al Horford to a 4-year $113 million deal away from the Atlanta Hawks, who he played his first 9 seasons with. During his career, Horford has never been the top option scoring but he has just been Mr. Consistent averaging 14-15 points and 7-8 rebounds per game over his 12 seasons and over the last 3 seasons that’s exactly what the Celtics got. Over his 3 seasons in Boston Al started all 208 games he played in averaging 13.5 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
Al even changed his game as he entered his age 30 seasons with the Celtics to fit the system. Al greatly improved his passing game as he averaged 2 more assists per game compared to his time in Atlanta. He also increased his three-point percentage from 34% to 38.2% including having a 42.9% in the 2017-18 season.
But most importantly Al was just a good teammate. When he first came to Boston he was the second option behind Isaiah Thomas and he didn’t complain. He just went out and played hard every night. Then during the last 2 years when the Celtics added Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving Al still just went out and played hard every night. You never heard a complaint from AL about shots or touches he just went out and played his role, played hard, and wanted to win. He was a great locker room presence and just a pros pro that the Celtics will miss dearly. In fact, Al Horford is a much bigger loss for the Celtics than that locker room cancer Kyrie Irving.
Now I do respect Al going and getting paid. For him to stay in Boston he would have had to take a significant pay cut after opting out of his $30.1 million option. But for him to go and join Philly, our biggest rival is just a knife to the heart. Him choosing Philly is also a shot at Tatum and Jaylen Brown as he’s pretty much saying he thinks the young core of Ben Simmons, who still can’t shoot outside 10 feet, and Joel Embiid, who hasn’t played more than 64 games in a season, is better and has a better chance of winning a championship than Jaylen and Jayson. Now am I saying to boo Al Horford like Kyrie Irving when he returns absolutely not. But, if I were Tatum and Brown I’d be using this move as motivation in the gym this offseason.
Good luck in Philly Al but just remember you are now an enemy to all of Boston.
Now let’s take a look back at some of Al’s best highlights as a Celtic.