Al Horford: he gawn

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Btw, this isn’t a dig on LBJ as a human being — just an observation that he isn’t the easiest guy to work with. Jordan was the same, and probably doesn’t win six rings in the era of the player-empowered superteam.
Right, anyone who wants to talk shit about player-vs-front-office tension in Boston, with Kyrie or Rozier or anyone else, oughta refresh themselves on Jordan's relationship with Bulls GM Jerry Krause.

Time and history can give a gloss to these things, but frankly we ain't got much in the way of tension. Not even sure the drama following Lebron everywhere makes it all that far up the totem pole.
 

benhogan

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Oh, what a shocker.

1. Al Horford didn't want to play Center
2. Playing the 5 put a pounding on his body

Per Murphy’s story “Horford has always been uncomfortable in a traditional center’s role, and the nightly toll the pounding takes on his aging body. Though he guarded his new teammate, Joel Embiid, as well as anyone in the league, Horford may have also looked forward to a chance to finally be slotted as a pure stretch power forward. Had he remained in Boston, now with Aron Baynes gone, he likely would have seen more of the same.”

 

lovegtm

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Oh, what a shocker.

1. Al Horford didn't want to play Center
2. Playing the 5 put a pounding on his body

Per Murphy’s story “Horford has always been uncomfortable in a traditional center’s role, and the nightly toll the pounding takes on his aging body. Though he guarded his new teammate, Joel Embiid, as well as anyone in the league, Horford may have also looked forward to a chance to finally be slotted as a pure stretch power forward. Had he remained in Boston, now with Aron Baynes gone, he likely would have seen more of the same.”

I mean, it’s nice he wants to be a 4, but he simply doesn’t have as much value in the league playing that position, and particularly not to the Celtics, who are stacked at the wing. Horford’s value, on a team without a super-elite center, comes from being a matchup nightmare at the 5 who can still play defense.

You don’t block the minutes of your best guys (Smart, Brown, Tatum, Hayward) because a 33 year-old doesn’t like playing his best position. You thank Al for his time and how he’s kept the team looking good, and you wish him the best playing the 4 somewhere else.
 

benhogan

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I mean, it’s nice he wants to be a 4, but he simply doesn’t have as much value in the league playing that position, and particularly not to the Celtics, who are stacked at the wing. Horford’s value, on a team without a super-elite center, comes from being a matchup nightmare at the 5 who can still play defense.

You don’t block the minutes of your best guys (Smart, Brown, Tatum, Hayward) because a 33 year-old doesn’t like playing his best position. You thank Al for his time and how he’s kept the team looking good, and you wish him the best playing the 4 somewhere else.
Haven't we been through this?

Al confirming he didn't want to come back, due to position, and that it was a beating to play down low is the NEWS. No need to re-hash, player efficiency #s.

Just two more victory laps for Hogan on the great Baynes/Horford debate, the whiff of Red's cigar is sweet.
 
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lovegtm

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Haven't we been through this? Al confirming he didn't want to come back, due to position, and that it was a beating to play down low is the news. No need to re-hash, player efficiency #s.

Just two more victory laps for Hogan on the great Baynes/Horford debate
You’re reading a caricature rather than what I wrote (or possibly confusing my positions re Al with HRB's). I agree that Al is a very good 4. I’d even agree that, for the 2019-2020 Celtics, Horford+Baynes+other guys probably gets you more regular season wins.

The problem is that it’s a local maximum that doesn’t have a pathway to a championship, and ties up a lot of money in Horford’s declining years.

I’d rather the team take some lumps now while being on the lookout for an elite defensive 5 who lets other guys play up a position, since that gives you a lot more offensive upside.

Philly is in the unique position of having a center who is elite on both ends, so Horford isn’t a local maximum for them: they can play to the top of their ability with him and Embiid together. It would be great if the Celtics had an Embiid, and that’s what they were trying to get in the form of AD, since he’d also pair really well with Horford. That didn’t work out—if it had, Horford probably stays, and it makes sense to keep him.

It didn’t work out, and so the Celtics and Horford parted ways, because Horford+non elite center probably doesn’t get it done, championship-wise.
 
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benhogan

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You’re reading a caricature rather than what I wrote (or possibly confusing my positions re Al with HRB's). I agree that Al is a very good 4. I’d even agree that, for the 2019-2020 Celtics, Horford+Baynes+other guys probably gets you more regular season wins.

The problem is that it’s a local maximum that doesn’t have a pathway to a championship, and ties up a lot of money in Horford’s declining years.

I’d rather the team take some lumps now while being on the lookout for an elite defensive 5 who lets other guys play up a position, since that gives you a lot more offensive upside.

Philly is in the unique position of having a center who is elite on both ends, so Horford isn’t a local maximum for them: they can play to the top of their ability with him and Embiid together. It would be great if the Celtics had an Embiid, and that’s what they were trying to get in the form of AD, since he’d also pair really well with Horford. That didn’t work out—if it had, Horford probably stays, and it makes sense to keep him.

It didn’t work out, and so the Celtics and Horford parted ways, because Horford+non elite center probably doesn’t get it done, championship-wise.
fair enough. I was looking at Al's commentary over the past season and my childish spiking of the football on HRB...

Going forward its probably the right move to not pay him (but its debatable). The Celtic timeline is 18 months now IMO. Everything should be geared towards peaking by 2020-21 playoffs. Is that your timeline?
 

lovegtm

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fair enough. I was looking at Al's commentary over the past season and my childish spiking of the football on HRB...

Going forward its probably the right move to not pay him (but its debatable). The Celtic timeline is 18 months now IMO. Everything should be geared towards peaking by 2020-21 playoffs. Is that your timeline?
Yes, with the caveats that

1. there’s a small chance they could be better faster, and then I’d look seriously at upgrading the 5 in December or Jan

2. If/when they hit that peak, you want to be set up for it to go a few years
 

DrewDawg

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I am looking for the article, because I read it on my phone yesterday, but the last minute effort to keep Horford was likely never going to work because the Celtics felt he had a handshake deal with Sixers 2 weeks before FA opened and they weren't going to be able to get him to back out of that.
 

NomarsFool

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I believe Horford has said that he didn't want to pull a MaMo and back out of his non-written agreement. Of course, it could be that even without that agreement, he just preferred the Sixers situation over the Celtics situation. We don't really know.
 

Lazy vs Crazy

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I believe Horford has said that he didn't want to pull a MaMo and back out of his non-written agreement. Of course, it could be that even without that agreement, he just preferred the Sixers situation over the Celtics situation. We don't really know.
Danny was on Toucher and Rich today and said he didn't want to play center anymore and he thinks that is part of why he left.
 

Big John

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Yes, he didn't want to play center. It will be interesting to see how the Embiid-Horford- Harris front line defends smaller, quicker players-- and how smaller, quicker players defend them.
 

benhogan

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Yes, he didn't want to play center. It will be interesting to see how the Embiid-Horford- Harris front line defends smaller, quicker players-- and how smaller, quicker players defend them.
Man, this annoys me to no end (not your post BJ, but the news). Knew it. Absolutely knew Al wanted to play the 4. Why wouldn't he, it was so obvious...

The 76ers will do great because Al Horford can easily cover bigger wings (even alongside a subpar defender in Tobias Harris). There isn't a big wing in the NBA Horford can't guard defensively... Name one?

Horford's best production, by far, was as a 4 with the Celtics. Playing Horford with Baynes or Theis was much better than pairing him with MaMo. It also would have developed our frontcourt for the future (TL/Horford pairing would have developed nicely). Brad/Danny screwed the situation up all damn season with no foresight for the future. At least Danny is being honest here.

Brad was so in love with playing small ball/5 potted plants wide garbage Horford had enough of it and has moved on. Great job Brad. And if Brad thinks he can continue with his 5 wide crap by going w/ Kemba, Tatum, Brown, Hayward, Kanter together good luck with that. They won't get a big stop at the end and they'll have 5 guys looking for their points like last season.
 

Big John

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I'm not so sure that Horford can defend players like Middleton, Hayward, Tatum or Siakam on a consistent basis, especially when smaller teams up the tempo. Al isn't getting any younger. The other issue is Embiid and his string of nagging injuries. I bet Horford will be playing the five quite a bit in Philly. When Embiid sits, the only real backup bag man they have is Kyle O'Quinn.

I think Horford went to Philly for the money: 4 years with incentives up to a reported $109M. No way Ainge was offering anything close to that, at least not until after Philly's offer became public.
 

benhogan

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I'm not so sure that Horford can defend players like Middleton, Hayward, Tatum or Siakam on a consistent basis, especially when smaller teams up the tempo. Al isn't getting any younger. The other issue is Embiid and his string of nagging injuries. I bet Horford will be playing the five quite a bit in Philly. When Embiid sits, the only real backup bag man they have is Kyle O'Quinn.

I think Horford went to Philly for the money: 4 years with incentives up to a reported $109M. No way Ainge was offering anything close to that, at least not until after Philly's offer became public.
why on earth would he guard Kris Middleton, when Milwaukee played him as their SG in the playoffs last year?

Hayward, Siakem, Tatum pose no problem for Al.
 

Big John

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Well, if not Middleton, then he'll have to guard Giannis. And I think some of those quicker guys will be a problem for him. He's going to be out in space on the perimeter more than he was in Boston.
 

benhogan

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Well, if not Middleton, then he'll have to guard Giannis. And I think some of those quicker guys will be a problem for him. He's going to be out in space on the perimeter more than he was in Boston.
Yes. Horford will be on the perimeter. He has the length, wingspan to alter perimeter shots with the knowledge on how to position himself to cut the hoop off. Of course when you play Horford with another good defensive player like Baynes or Embiid they can help around the rim. and vice versa, Al can help those other long players around the rim.
 

nighthob

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He can do it in bursts, I'm not sure he can do it full time anymore. It's one thing to chase Giannis around when you only have to do it a few minutes a game, but 30? Color me skeptical.
 

cheech13

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Asking Al Horford to chase younger, quicker and more athletic 4s on the perimeter for 30+ minutes a night sounds like a recipe for disaster. That would be fine in some match-ups but in today's game he's a 5. That's where he's most effective and good teams are going to exploit Philly if they put him next to Embiid for long stretches. FWIW, Basketball Index rates him as an "F" on perimeter defense but an "A" on interior defense and rebounding. That seems to more or less match the eye test.
 

benhogan

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Asking Al Horford to chase younger, quicker and more athletic 4s on the perimeter for 30+ minutes a night sounds like a recipe for disaster. That would be fine in some match-ups but in today's game he's a 5. That's where he's most effective and good teams are going to exploit Philly if they put him next to Embiid for long stretches. FWIW, Basketball Index rates him as an "F" on perimeter defense but an "A" on interior defense and rebounding. That seems to more or less match the eye test.
nope. Al was much more effective playing with Baynes as a 4 then as a 5 with MaMo by a huge amount. I can show you plenty of metrics that prove that.

No one said he'd be playing on the perimeter for 30mpg. 50/50 split is what he will do this year and should have been played here.

PLUS I'm skeptical of any basketball measure that rates Horford an F on any defensive metric. What was MaMo rated on the perimeter? or Kyrie?
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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While I am looking forward to next season for a lot of reasons, the #1 reason I can't wait is to hopefully put to rest one way or the other whether Al Horford can play the 4. :)
 

benhogan

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While I am looking forward to next season for a lot of reasons, the #1 reason I can't wait is to hopefully put to rest one way or the other whether Al Horford can play the 4. :)
Agreed, we will see...I absolutely hate the idea of the 76ers reaping the benefits of Al Horford as their starting 4.

BUT I'm sure people will move the goalposts like Al is only good at the 4 next to Embiid.
 

tbrown_01923

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I am interested at Al at the 4 with Tobias at the 3. I think teams with athletic wings are going to get their opportunities on the perimteter against the sixers
 

lovegtm

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Arguing over whether Al can play the 4 is dumb--he clearly can, outside of a few very specific matchups. The question was always whether the Celtics had a path to a 5 to pair him with who wouldn't lower the offensive ceiling too much. Baynes+Horford just couldn't score enough: the Celtics were brutal offensively against Indy, and then they played Baynes ~10 mins/game against Milwaukee to try and find enough scoring. It worked in game 1, but then the issues after that are well documented. There probably was a workable path to Horford+Baynes+good offense when 2017 Kyrie and Hayward were clicking together in preseason. We all know what happened there.

If the AD thing had worked out, I have little doubt that Al would be the 4/part-time 5 next year for the Celtics, and that he'd be good at it, as he was next to Baynes. This is the downside of not doing The Process, or not winning the lottery in the right year: guys like Embiid and AD come along rarely, and get drafted high.

No need to dump on Horford: he's good at what he does. For a lot of reasons, many of them outside of the team's control, it doesn't make sense to pay him to do those things for the Celtics going forward, even if he were amenable, which he clearly wasn't.

A more interesting direction for this thread is how you DO go about attacking the Sixers' huge lineups.
 

Eddie Jurak

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nope. Al was much more effective playing with Baynes as a 4 then as a 5 with MaMo by a huge amount. I can show you plenty of metrics that prove that.

No one said he'd be playing on the perimeter for 30mpg. 50/50 split is what he will do this year and should have been played here.

PLUS I'm skeptical of any basketball measure that rates Horford an F on any defensive metric. What was MaMo rated on the perimeter? or Kyrie?
Philly is a different situation, though. In 2017-18, Baynes and Horford played 861 minutes together, about 38% of Horford's time on the floor and 58% of Baynes' time. When Embiid, who obviously plays a lot more than Baynes when he is in the lineup, is healthy Horford will be a lot more of a full time 4 than he ever was in Boston. How well that is going to work, both offensively and defensively, is an open question. For example, as a 4, will he be left alone on the perimeter to shoot threes as much as he is as a 5?
 

lovegtm

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Philly is a different situation, though. In 2017-18, Baynes and Horford played 861 minutes together, about 38% of Horford's time on the floor and 58% of Baynes' time. When Embiid, who obviously plays a lot more than Baynes when he is in the lineup, is healthy Horford will be a lot more of a full time 4 than he ever was in Boston. How well that is going to work, both offensively and defensively, is an open question. For example, as a 4, will he be left alone on the perimeter to shoot threes as much as he is as a 5?
At the very least his volume shooting 3s will go down—his release just isn’t fast enough to handle closeouts from faster guys regularly. Obviously he’ll have a size advantage in most matchups though.
 

Devizier

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I like that Philly is going against the tide and playing big next year. Obviously the Bucks had success with it last year, and the Lakers seem to be moving in that direction this year as well (assuming Cousins can stay on the floor).
 

tbrown_01923

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A more interesting direction for this thread is how you DO go about attacking the Sixers' huge lineups.
Yes - my point exactly. Embiid has show (anecdotally) the ability to be a good defender - but I would start by making Al and Tobias move on the perimeter through handoffs and swings to create angles to the basket and flat out challenge Embiid in the lane and make him react. I would think if Embiid stepped up Al would be more likley than Tobias to make the right rotation and have the abiolity to play sound defense on the rotation. But we will see.
 

benhogan

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I like that Philly is going against the tide and playing big next year. Obviously the Bucks had success with it last year, and the Lakers seem to be moving in that direction this year as well (assuming Cousins can stay on the floor).
Yes. The Pacers will play a frontcourt of Sabonis/Turner. Don't sleep on them if Oladipo comes back 100%

If your frontcourt players can shoot over 35% on 3s and play good defense, you want a couple of them on the floor to help protect the rim/clog the lane. The whole concept of a guy like Al Horford chasing around a wing, ie JJ Redick, on the perimeter is false. Teams and Philly will switch on the perimeter. Al will be great playing 15 mpg on the perimeter (against larger 4s) and 15mpg as their small-ball center.

On offense, Philly has questions with their 3pt shooting (JJ, Shamet gone) or having someone that can take the ball ISO in the halfcourt (Butler loss hurts). I will say Horford is terrific at posting/sealing wings down low, but if that leads to a Simmons and Embiid on the perimeter that's a win for the defense.
 
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lovegtm

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Yes. The Pacers will play a frontcourt of Sabonis/Turner. Don't sleep on them if Oladipo comes back 100%

If your frontcourt players can shoot over 35% on 3s and play good defense, you want a couple of them on the floor to help protect the rim/clog the lane. The whole concept of a guy like Al Horford chasing around a wing, ie JJ Redick, on the perimeter is false. Teams and Philly will switch on the perimeter. Al will be great playing 15 mpg on the perimeter (against larger 4s) and 15mpg as their small-ball center.

On offense, Philly has questions with their 3pt shooting (JJ, Shamet gone) or having someone that can take the ball ISO in the halfcourt (Butler loss hurts). I will say Horford is terrific at posting/sealing wings down low, but if that leads to a Simmons and Embiid on the perimeter that's a win for the defense.
Indy was bad without Oladipo last year -- something like a -1.9 netRtg iirc. Brogdon is good, but he doesn't solve their need for shot creation. I don't really see how they're going to score points until Victor comes back, and they could be in a hole then.

I agree about the issues with Horford posting wings down low--teams are just going to help really aggressively off of Embiid and/or Simmons. Flipping Horford onto the perimeter helps some, but you can still help off him aggressively with a wing, and then close out hard on his shot. The base problem is that they just have too many guys like that, even the ones who are ok shooters. Something just feels wrong about Philly to me on offense--they seem like a prime candidate to have to make a big move in December after the initial theory of their team doesn't quite work out.
 

benhogan

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Arguing over whether Al can play the 4 is dumb--he clearly can, outside of a few very specific matchups. The question was always whether the Celtics had a path to a 5 to pair him with who wouldn't lower the offensive ceiling too much. Baynes+Horford just couldn't score enough: the Celtics were brutal offensively against Indy, and then they played Baynes ~10 mins/game against Milwaukee to try and find enough scoring. It worked in game 1, but then the issues after that are well documented. There probably was a workable path to Horford+Baynes+good offense when 2017 Kyrie and Hayward were clicking together in preseason. We all know what happened there.

If the AD thing had worked out, I have little doubt that Al would be the 4/part-time 5 next year for the Celtics, and that he'd be good at it, as he was next to Baynes. This is the downside of not doing The Process, or not winning the lottery in the right year: guys like Embiid and AD come along rarely, and get drafted high.

No need to dump on Horford: he's good at what he does. For a lot of reasons, many of them outside of the team's control, it doesn't make sense to pay him to do those things for the Celtics going forward, even if he were amenable, which he clearly wasn't.

A more interesting direction for this thread is how you DO go about attacking the Sixers' huge lineups.
As we know, Baynes was re-injured in the playoffs.

As you can imagine I'd push back on Baynes/Horford vs MaMo/Horford pairing being offensively challenged and point to two years of data instead of a handful of games.

2018-19 Adv ratings off/ def/ diff
Baynes/Horford 119/ 98.5/ 20.5 (163 minutes)
MaMo/Horford 111.1/ 108.9/ 2.2 (1158 minutes)

Theis/Horford 109.6/ 98.1/ 11.5 (23 minutes)
TL/Horford 141.2/ 72.7/ 68.4 (9minutes)
Ojeleye/Horford 118.2/ 94.4/ 23.8 (110 minutes)

Hayward/Horford 109.2/ 105.6/ 3.6 (774 minutes)

I even threw in an offensively challenged Semi with Al to see how playing a defense-first player alongside Horford worked.
Brad's handling of the rotations was idiotic especially since he only had to go back to the previous season to see how Al performed at the 4 (The stats are stark and it's on the level of Zimmer '78 stupid-ness of batting Burleson/Remy 1-2).

2017-18 Adv ratings off/ def/ diff
Baynes/Horford 107.6/ 95.5/ 12 (863 minutes)
MaMo/Horford 107.9/ 102.5/ 5.4 (685 minutes)

Theis/Horford 106.7/ 103.9/ 2.8 (244 minutes)

As you can see in 2017-18, tiny downgrade on offense and a much better defense. I know Baynes was injured several times and only played 51 games in 2018-19, but playing Al at the 5 for 93% of the time was moronic. Brad's insistence on playing small ball at every moment he could lead to 5 guys looking for their shot, terrible ball movement, and pedestrian defense at the end of games... Al agreed and looked to take his talents elsewhere. I'd expect putting defensive studs like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (when 76ers go small) next to Horford will create very favorable results.


 
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Eddie Jurak

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At the very least his volume shooting 3s will go down—his release just isn’t fast enough to handle closeouts from faster guys regularly. Obviously he’ll have a size advantage in most matchups though.
This is exactly the concern, particularly on the Sixers. I love Hordford's 3-point shot, but it is a slow shot that he won't be able to get off without the time and space he gets as a 5. He'll get minutes at the 5 anyway (when Embiid is hurt and when he is resting), so he'll be able to get his threes then. Another way to create the space for him would be via the pick and roll. But who is he running it with? Simmons is no threat to shoot, so his defender can go under screens and Al remains covered.
If your frontcourt players can shoot over 35% on 3s and play good defense, you want a couple of them on the floor to help protect the rim/clog the lane. The whole concept of a guy like Al Horford chasing around a wing, ie JJ Redick, on the perimeter is false. Teams and Philly will switch on the perimeter. Al will be great playing 15 mpg on the perimeter (against larger 4s) and 15mpg as their small-ball center.
My concern with Al and 3 point shooting is less that he will not shoot 35% and more that he will be less able to get those shots off at all. This isn't solely about which position he plays but also about Philly's lack of perimeter shooting. I don't think a Horford can provide what a Reddick provides.
 

lovegtm

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As we know, Baynes was re-injured in the playoffs.

As you can imagine I'd push back on Baynes/Horford vs MaMo/Horford pairing being offensively challenged and point to two years of data instead of a handful of games.

2018-19 Adv ratings off/ def/ diff
Baynes/Horford 119/ 98.5/ 20.5 (163 minutes)
MaMo/Horford 111.1/ 108.9/ 2.2 (1158 minutes)

Theis/Horford 109.6/ 98.1/ 11.5 (23 minutes)
TL/Horford 141.2/ 72.7/ 68.4 (9minutes)
Ojeleye/Horford 118.2/ 94.4/ 23.8 (110 minutes)

Hayward/Horford 109.2/ 105.6/ 3.6 (774 minutes)

I even threw in an offensively challenged Semi with Al to see how playing a defense-first player alongside Horford worked.
Brad's handling of the rotations was idiotic especially since he only had to go back to the previous season to see how Al performed at the 4 (The stats are stark and it's on the level of Zimmer '78 level stupid-ness of batting Burleson/Remy 1-2).

2017-18 Adv ratings off/ def/ diff
Baynes/Horford 107.6/ 95.5/ 12 (863 minutes)
MaMo/Horford 107.9/ 102.5/ 5.4 (685 minutes)

Theis/Horford 106.7/ 103.9/ 2.8 (244 minutes)

As you can see in 2017-18, tiny downgrade on offense and a much better defense. I know Baynes was injured several times and only played 51 games in 2018-19, but playing Al at the 5 for 93% of the time was moronic. Brad's insistence on playing small ball at every moment he could lead to 5 guys looking for their shot, terrible ball movement, and pedestrian defense at the end of games... Al agreed and looked to take his talents elsewhere. I'd expect putting defensive studs like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (when 76ers go small) next to Horford will create very favorable results.


Again, possibly you're confusing me with another poster. I've reiterated over and over again that, while I think Horford is a good 4, the Celtics had a ceiling with him there, since they'd didn't have enough offense at the 5 to make up for it. Clearly MaMo wasn't the answer, but they were experimenting with imperfect options. I think that the team was mostly better with Baynes at the 5, but that that didn't give enough scoring upside longterm. Not sure why it's so hard to understand the concept of a local maximum.

Having Joel Embiid on your team clearly changes things (as would having Anthony Davis, or even Miles Turner). It turns out that having really good centers is really good. The Celtics don't have an immediate path to one. They thought they did, but that blew up. By the time the next one is available or develops, Horford will probably be too old to take advantage. It's also awesome to have Ben Simmons. That's why he went #1!
 

Jimbodandy

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I like that Philly is going against the tide and playing big next year. Obviously the Bucks had success with it last year, and the Lakers seem to be moving in that direction this year as well (assuming Cousins can stay on the floor).
Lakers and particularly the Sixers are hoping to show that there's more than one way to win. It is fascinating. I'm looking forward to seeing if teams can eat them up with guard play.
 

Big John

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Philly's other potential problem is their bench. They shipped out Covington, Saric and Bayless to get Jimmy Butler, then lost Reddick and TJ McConnell in free agency. They got Josh Richardson back from Miami (for Butler), and signed O'Quinn and Neto., but that's pretty thin unless Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle develop into rotation players.
 

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Philly's other potential problem is their bench. They shipped out Covington, Saric and Bayless to get Jimmy Butler, then lost Reddick and TJ McConnell in free agency. They got Josh Richardson back from Miami (for Butler), and signed O'Quinn and Neto., but that's pretty thin unless Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle develop into rotation players.
You left out Mike Scott and James Ennis, both of whom are perfectly cromulent bench players. It's not a super deep team but they have 8-9 real NBA players and there's a good chance that someone out of the Smith/Thybulle/Milton group breaks out as a contributor. Reports from Summer League were very positive on Zhaire Smith in particular. They can always look to the trade deadline or buyout market to add one more piece, but when your starting five is as good as theirs I don't think the bench is as important, especially come playoff time.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
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Again, possibly you're confusing me with another poster. I've reiterated over and over again that, while I think Horford is a good 4, the Celtics had a ceiling with him there, since they'd didn't have enough offense at the 5 to make up for it. Clearly MaMo wasn't the answer, but they were experimenting with imperfect options. I think that the team was mostly better with Baynes at the 5, but that that didn't give enough scoring upside longterm. Not sure why it's so hard to understand the concept of a local maximum.

Having Joel Embiid on your team clearly changes things (as would having Anthony Davis, or even Miles Turner). It turns out that having really good centers is really good. The Celtics don't have an immediate path to one. They thought they did, but that blew up. By the time the next one is available or develops, Horford will probably be too old to take advantage. It's also awesome to have Ben Simmons. That's why he went #1!
Yeah, you've leaned toward Baynes/Horford, I wasn't really criticizing your stance. I just don't believe MaMo added enough offense as the 4th option to justify his poor defense. They didn't need big offense from the 5 with Ky, Tatum, Al on the floor. They needed a defense-first guy that did the little things.

Why experiment when you know what works, which was Al splitting his minutes at the 4 and 5, like his previous All-Star season? Brad should have been playing Al w/AB and Theis (when AB was injured) more, he took the team in reverse by pigeon-holing Al 93% of the time at the 5. Playing MaMo, who is a shoot-first, black hole, defensive liability in his contract year, with Al so many minutes was brain numbingly stupid. Statistically, it added barely anything offensively for 2 seasons and killed the team defensively.

I'll take it a step further. Everyone on this board had Horford returning, no one saw him leaving. In fact, most of us had him re-working his contract at a slight discount. But according to Danny yesterday, Al let it be known that he wanted to play the 4 more. I'm sure he mentioned it in private to Brad/Danny during the season since he isn't the type to whine to the media about his role. Danny would have matched the money, but it came down to role and Al knew playing for Philly he wasn't going to get crammed into massive minutes at the 5.

This also has me slightly concerned about how Brad lines up rotations for this season. Playing Enes Kanter with Kemba, Brown, Tatum, Hayward would be moronic. You don't need scoring from your Center that is your 5th offensive option, you need defense, rim protection, lane clogged. You don't want Kanter learning how to shoot 3s when he's playing with 4 other efficient offensive players. Kanter getting points on the 2nd unit against weaker front lines, great that works (like it should have with MaMo). Bowiac /Dejesus will be spot on with 42-44 wins if Brad plays that group big minutes. I'm holding out hope Brad has learned and will add a defense-first player to round out rotations w/Kemba, Brown & Tatum. BUT it does concern me when perceptive posters like lovegtm still see the upside of sacrificing defense to play a 4th/5th offensive option more.
 
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cheech13

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As we know, Baynes was re-injured in the playoffs.

As you can imagine I'd push back on Baynes/Horford vs MaMo/Horford pairing being offensively challenged and point to two years of data instead of a handful of games.

2018-19 Adv ratings off/ def/ diff
Baynes/Horford 119/ 98.5/ 20.5 (163 minutes)
MaMo/Horford 111.1/ 108.9/ 2.2 (1158 minutes)

Theis/Horford 109.6/ 98.1/ 11.5 (23 minutes)
TL/Horford 141.2/ 72.7/ 68.4 (9minutes)
Ojeleye/Horford 118.2/ 94.4/ 23.8 (110 minutes)

Hayward/Horford 109.2/ 105.6/ 3.6 (774 minutes)

I even threw in an offensively challenged Semi with Al to see how playing a defense-first player alongside Horford worked.
Brad's handling of the rotations was idiotic especially since he only had to go back to the previous season to see how Al performed at the 4 (The stats are stark and it's on the level of Zimmer '78 level stupid-ness of batting Burleson/Remy 1-2).

2017-18 Adv ratings off/ def/ diff
Baynes/Horford 107.6/ 95.5/ 12 (863 minutes)
MaMo/Horford 107.9/ 102.5/ 5.4 (685 minutes)

Theis/Horford 106.7/ 103.9/ 2.8 (244 minutes)

As you can see in 2017-18, tiny downgrade on offense and a much better defense. I know Baynes was injured several times and only played 51 games in 2018-19, but playing Al at the 5 for 93% of the time was moronic. Brad's insistence on playing small ball at every moment he could lead to 5 guys looking for their shot, terrible ball movement, and pedestrian defense at the end of games... Al agreed and looked to take his talents elsewhere. I'd expect putting defensive studs like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (when 76ers go small) next to Horford will create very favorable results.


It's great that you've included the numbers to support your thesis, but it's not clear that what have inferred from the data is true. The advanced ratings support the notion Horford worked best at the 4, but that was in a limited sample. You concluded from this that Brad should have played that lineup more, wholly ignoring that there could have been other factors that made that impossible. Focus on the minutes portion and you might conclude that Horford at the 4 is only viable in certain match-ups, perhaps against teams that can't exploit the defensive mismatch or when Boston didn't need extra offensive spacing . There are a whole host of possibilities that we just can't suss out from the data. That doesn't mean you're wrong but Danny and Brad both have the data you have and probably much better data as well and they didn't think Horford at the 4 was effective in long stretches. There has to be something there that is being overlooked.
 
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benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
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Nov 2, 2007
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It's great that you've included the numbers to support your thesis, but it's not clear that what have inferred from the data is true. The advanced ratings support the notion Horford worked best at the 5, but that was in a limited sample. You concluded from this that Brad should have played that lineup more, wholly ignoring that there could have been other factors that made that impossible. Focus on the minutes portion and you might conclude that Horford at the 4 is only viable in certain match-ups, perhaps against teams that can't exploit the defensive mismatch. Or maybe they can't get the offensive spacing the need. There are a whole host of possibilities that we just can't suss out from the data. That doesn't mean you're wrong but Danny and Brad both have the data you have and probably much better data as well and they didn't think Horford at the 4 was effective in long stretches. There has to be something there that is being overlooked.
Please show me the advanced metrics that show the team performed better when Horford played the 5 instead of the 4 over the last 2 seasons? Still waiting for one shred of evidence of that being true. It's not a matchup thing, Al worked at the 4 in the previous season against all different types of NBA line ups.

I agree Danny/Brad do have more info. I heard this numerous times during the season and was lectured to not question the smartest guys in the room. Going into last season I had Brad as one of best hoops coaches at any level, so questioning his wisdom was not something I was entirely comfortable with. BUT when a coach comes to every post-game presser and preaches DEFENSE and BALL MOVEMENT, you have to scratch your head on why he wasn't adjusting his rotations to address those issues.

With 3 weeks left in the regular season, Brad pretty much capitulated and went Baynes/Horford, but due to waiting the entire regular season they were unable to adjust once Baynes was injured. Brad, self admittedly, had a terrible year. I hope he follows through on stressing Defense and Ball Movement with his rotations this upcoming season.
 
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mcpickl

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Jul 23, 2007
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It's great that you've included the numbers to support your thesis, but it's not clear that what have inferred from the data is true. The advanced ratings support the notion Horford worked best at the 4, but that was in a limited sample. You concluded from this that Brad should have played that lineup more, wholly ignoring that there could have been other factors that made that impossible. Focus on the minutes portion and you might conclude that Horford at the 4 is only viable in certain match-ups, perhaps against teams that can't exploit the defensive mismatch or when Boston didn't need extra offensive spacing . There are a whole host of possibilities that we just can't suss out from the data. That doesn't mean you're wrong but Danny and Brad both have the data you have and probably much better data as well and they didn't think Horford at the 4 was effective in long stretches. There has to be something there that is being overlooked.
I can't believe this is still a thing.

Al Horford can play the 4, he's terrific at that spot. The Celtics dominated when Horford was at the 4 the past three seasons.

In 2017-18, the Celtics net rating with Horford/Baynes on the floor in a lot of minutes was a terrific +13.0, the highest rating he had with anyone in the rotation
In 2018-19, the Celtics net rating with Horford/Baynes on the floor in limited minutes was an absurd +23.5, the highest rating he had with anyone in the rotation

Even in 2016-17, Horfords highest net rating with any teammate was with Amir Johnson at +8.8.

I don't think you'll find any data that says Horford can't play the 4.

I think the issue that had Brad play Horford overwhelmingly at the 5, is because they had one too many non-centers in the rotation.

They had 7 guys who can't play center expecting minutes every night. That only leaves Horford and Baynes in Brads 9 man rotation that can play center. I think if he added Theis as a 10th guy getting consistent minutes so Baynes/Theis could handle center to allow Al more minutes at the 4, Brad would've gotten even more complaining from the younger guys who were already upset about their roles.

In 2017/18 with Hayward out, Theis(then eventually Monroe after Theis got hurt) could be in the rotation as the 9th man so they had two legit centers besides Horford in the rotation.

I think Brad had his hands tied. All season I wanted much more Baynes//Horford, but I didn't realize there was so much griping going on behind the scenes. I would've traded Rozier last summer, I understand why Ainge didn't but I disagree with it, but once they came back with that roster I think Brad just got stuck forcing Al at the 5 in hopes of keeping the young guys from checking out.

I don't think there was any thinking from them that Al just wasn't as effective at the 4.
 

Big John

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Going forward, would you want Baynes (or a Baynes clone) playing 30 mpg, or Hayward? If Al plays the 4, someone else sits. It's fine to say that the Celtics "dominated" with the Baynes-Horford lineup in limited minutes, but teams would quickly adjust and exploit Baynes' offensive limitations if you played them together more often. If Baynes were as good as Hayward, Brown or Tatum, they would have traded one of those guys to Phoenix, not Baynes.

Everything has an opportunity cost when only five can be out there at any given time.
 

Lazy vs Crazy

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Going forward, would you want Baynes (or a Baynes clone) playing 30 mpg, or Hayward? If Al plays the 4, someone else sits. It's fine to say that the Celtics "dominated" with the Baynes-Horford lineup in limited minutes, but teams would quickly adjust and exploit Baynes' offensive limitations if you played them together more often. If Baynes were as good as Hayward, Brown or Tatum, they would have traded one of those guys to Phoenix, not Baynes.

Everything has an opportunity cost when only five can be out there at any given time.
There were a lot of minutes with Rozier, Smart, and Kyrie out there together. Things could have been mixed up so that happened less. The person who I would have liked to see play a lot less was Morris, who was a liability during the back half of the season.
 

mcpickl

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Going forward, would you want Baynes (or a Baynes clone) playing 30 mpg, or Hayward? If Al plays the 4, someone else sits. It's fine to say that the Celtics "dominated" with the Baynes-Horford lineup in limited minutes, but teams would quickly adjust and exploit Baynes' offensive limitations if you played them together more often. If Baynes were as good as Hayward, Brown or Tatum, they would have traded one of those guys to Phoenix, not Baynes.

Everything has an opportunity cost when only five can be out there at any given time.
Why would this be the only two options?

As I just explained, I would've traded Rozier. That's who I remove from last years rotation to play Al more at the 4.

The Celtics "dominated" for two seasons with Baynes/Horford, not in limited minutes. Nearly 1,000 minutes. Why didn't teams quickly adjust and exploit Baynes at any time in the last two seasons?

Who the hell are you arguing against that thinks Baynes is better than Hayward, Brown or Tatum?
 

Big John

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Rozier is a separate issue. If Horford is at the four, Hayward, Tatum, Brown or Theis can't play that position. Also, going forward both Rozier and Morris are gone (and Baynes too), so what should have happened last year is irrelevant. And why should Ainge be willing to pay max money to a 6-10 guy who doesn't want to bang down low?
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
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Nov 2, 2007
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Going forward, would you want Baynes (or a Baynes clone) playing 30 mpg, or Hayward? If Al plays the 4, someone else sits. It's fine to say that the Celtics "dominated" with the Baynes-Horford lineup in limited minutes, but teams would quickly adjust and exploit Baynes' offensive limitations if you played them together more often. If Baynes were as good as Hayward, Brown or Tatum, they would have traded one of those guys to Phoenix, not Baynes.

Everything has an opportunity cost when only five can be out there at any given time.
48mpg X 5 positions

240mpg

Brad could play 8 players for 30mpg.

Hayward, Brown, and Tatum can stay...along with Baynes 2.0
 
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mcpickl

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Jul 23, 2007
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Rozier is a separate issue. If Horford is at the four, Hayward, Tatum, Brown or Theis can't play that position. Also, going forward both Rozier and Morris are gone.
Sure they can, though Theis wouldn't since he's not a 4. And you wouldn't need Jaylen or Hayward to do so. Al wouldn't play 48 minutes at the 4, he'd be too tired. The other guys could have played the minutes there that Al didn't.

rotation without Rozier could've looked something like this when everyone was healthy.

C Baynes 20 mins Theis 14 mins Al 14 mins
PF Al 16 mins Morris 24 mins Tatum 8 mins
SF Tatum 24 mins Hayward 24 mins
SF Jaylen 30 mins Hayward 6 mins Smart 12 mins
PG Kyrie 32 mins Smart 16 mins

That's what would've made sense to me last year if they moved Rozier.
 

Big John

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Dec 9, 2016
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We will have the opportunity to see how Horford fares as a full-time (more or less) pf opposite a big strong center who is superior to Baynes in the upcoming season. We will also get to see a Celtics team with someone other than Baynes or Horford at the center position and a smaller, quicker pf.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
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It's about Al Horford at the 4, AB is a byproduct of proving it works.

Feel free to put Amir or Theis in there at your leisure, still works...
There's no way, with Horford and Theis both in the game, that Horford wouldn't be called on to defend the best big on the other team.