Al Horford - the Celtics' Resurrected Saviour of the Season

the moops

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I was about to ask if there was a better contract, non-rookie non-max, in the sport, but then realized the best one most likely belongs to DWhite. Brad is a frigin ninja. People were afraid to deal with Danny because he always seemed to fleece teams, I wonder if Brad asking about players might give teams pause "wait, what are we missing with this guy?"
Couple other names, who also happen to be teammates - Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein
 

benhogan

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a well rested Horford will have a better playoffs

good job by CJM knocking his minutes down from 30.5mpg last season to 27mpg
 

k-factory

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a well rested Horford will have a better playoffs

good job by CJM knocking his minutes down from 30.5mpg last season to 27mpg
Ticking up though. Partially because of the ‘injuries’ but I do wonder if Joe is ramping him up for the run.
Last 6 games - with the Wizards blowout the exception:
32, 30, 33, 23(wizards), 38, 31
Have to admit that 38 mins against the Bucks had me a bit concerned. But he is looking spry out there in his drives to the basket. 3 pt shot frequency is up too. Again probably because of the dnps on the team but twice in that 6 game span he’s shot 10 times from 3. Only did that once previously this season.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Ticking up though. Partially because of the ‘injuries’ but I do wonder if Joe is ramping him up for the run.
Last 6 games - with the Wizards blowout the exception:
32, 30, 33, 23(wizards), 38, 31
Have to admit that 38 mins against the Bucks had me a bit concerned. But he is looking spry out there in his drives to the basket. 3 pt shot frequency is up too. Again probably because of the dnps on the team but twice in that 6 game span he’s shot 10 times from 3. Only did that once previously this season.
Horford has never been handled with kid gloves with the exception of not playing B2B which for a team such as this is more than reasonable. When Porzingis sits, Horford plays starter minutes which in a close game can be mid to high 30’s. When the team is heathy and he’s playing 20 min a night it isn’t bc we are “saving him” or whatever you want to call it….he’s playing 20 bc he’s now a 2nd unit player on this team with better players ahead of him who will play more minutes.
 

benhogan

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Ticking up though. Partially because of the ‘injuries’ but I do wonder if Joe is ramping him up for the run.
Last 6 games - with the Wizards blowout the exception:
32, 30, 33, 23(wizards), 38, 31
Have to admit that 38 mins against the Bucks had me a bit concerned. But he is looking spry out there in his drives to the basket. 3 pt shot frequency is up too. Again probably because of the dnps on the team but twice in that 6 game span he’s shot 10 times from 3. Only did that once previously this season.
the uptick in minutes is due to KP not being available

the reduction in MPG will be beneficial to his shooting/play
 

k-factory

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Yep all that tracks.
I do find the uptick in 3PA interesting though of course having multiple starters sit requires him to fill a scoring void.
Of course this is also a year where he can be a meaningful contributor to a championship, not just a gratuitous guy. So there’s lot of self-motivation as he gets playoff ready.
I thought Tillman might take some of his playoff minutes but there is really very little chance of that. That’s purely Zinger mitigation
 

TripleOT

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Horford looked like he really enjoyed lighting up his college coach’s team last night. For a guy who never took threes the first eight seasons of his career, he now looks like a catch and shoot assassin from three, with the ball spending very little time in his hands before it splashes through the net.

44% from three as a starter, and 38% as a reserve, 43% overall. In wins, Al shoots 46%, but in losses, it’s 26%. He’s at 49% on two or more days rest, and 40% a one day. He shot only 29.8% in the playoffs last season, after scorching the nets at 48% the season before. Hopefully the way Mazzulla has handled his playing time will have him spry for the playoff run.
 

benhogan

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Yep all that tracks.
I do find the uptick in 3PA interesting though of course having multiple starters sit requires him to fill a scoring void.
Of course this is also a year where he can be a meaningful contributor to a championship, not just a gratuitous guy. So there’s lot of self-motivation as he gets playoff ready.
I thought Tillman might take some of his playoff minutes but there is really very little chance of that. That’s purely Zinger mitigation
I'm guessing, Luke/Tillman playoff minutes will be based on score & match-up-specific
 

Eddie Jurak

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I'm wondering what to expect from Al in the playoffs. Last playoffs, he had moments of awesome (like that 4th quarter where he shut down Embiid) but also had games where maybe he looked a little like a 36-year old. In the regular season, he played 63 games and 1922 minutes (30.5 minutes per game), then in the playoffs he started all 20 games and averaged about the same (30.9 minutes).

This year he's at 61 games with 7 games left, so about the same as last year, though the minutes are down (27.2 per game).

Part of me thinks he is going to show up with an extra gear he's been saving just for these playoffs; part of me worries he'll show his age.
 

jezza1918

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I'm wondering what to expect from Al in the playoffs. Last playoffs, he had moments of awesome (like that 4th quarter where he shut down Embiid) but also had games where maybe he looked a little like a 36-year old. In the regular season, he played 63 games and 1922 minutes (30.5 minutes per game), then in the playoffs he started all 20 games and averaged about the same (30.9 minutes).

This year he's at 61 games with 7 games left, so about the same as last year, though the minutes are down (27.2 per game).

Part of me thinks he is going to show up with an extra gear he's been saving just for these playoffs; part of me worries he'll show his age.
He will definitely show his age at points IMO, just a matter of the ratio of extra gear vs. showing age. Looking at last year's gamelog, he played about 32.5 mpg in the first round. I know g1 was a blowout, but even in the other wins that looked pretty comfortable final score wise I recall them all being "games" in the 4th quarter. I know it's rather obvious to say, but feels like closing out round 1 in easier fashion than last year would go A LONG way in helping Al further on down the line.
 

benhogan

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I'm wondering what to expect from Al in the playoffs. Last playoffs, he had moments of awesome (like that 4th quarter where he shut down Embiid) but also had games where maybe he looked a little like a 36-year old. In the regular season, he played 63 games and 1922 minutes (30.5 minutes per game), then in the playoffs he started all 20 games and averaged about the same (30.9 minutes).

This year he's at 61 games with 7 games left, so about the same as last year, though the minutes are down (27.2 per game).

Part of me thinks he is going to show up with an extra gear he's been saving just for these playoffs; part of me worries he'll show his age.
I believe we'll see a better Al this year. They shrunk-wrapped Horford all season & were careful with his mpg. We'll see plenty of double BIGs with rotations tightening, and match-ups calling for it.

More importantly, replacing Rob Williams/Marcus Smart with Porzingis/Holiday will create wide-open looks for Al
 

Euclis20

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I'm not worried about Al showing his age, the thing I'm worried about with him is that he's become a pretty one dimensional offensive player. Other than occasionally bullying guards in the post and making the smart pass, the only thing he does is hit open 3's. If he goes cold during the playoffs (which happened against both Philly and Miami last year when he shot .275 and .276 from 3, respectively), he becomes a much more limited player because he's the one guy in the top 6 that really can't score effectively in multiple ways, and teams will start leaving him alone if he misses a ton of 3's. If that happens, the offense could become a bit more difficult when he's on the floor.

His greatest value is his defense (particularly his defensive versatility), and I'm not worried about that going anywhere in the next 3 months.
 

PedraMartina

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Other than occasionally bullying guards in the post and making the smart pass, the only thing he does is hit open 3's. If he goes cold during the playoffs (which happened against both Philly and Miami last year when he shot .275 and .276 from 3, respectively), he becomes a much more limited player because he's the one guy in the top 6 that really can't score effectively in multiple ways, and teams will start leaving him alone if he misses a ton of 3's.
I am pretty comfortable with Al taking wide open threes no matter how many he’s missed (unless he’s injured). He’s not some young player who’s going to get in his own head because he’s missed a few prior open looks.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I believe we'll see a better Al this year. They shrunk-wrapped Horford all season & were careful with his mpg. We'll see plenty of double BIGs with rotations tightening, and match-ups calling for it.

More importantly, replacing Rob Williams/Marcus Smart with Porzingis/Holiday will create wide-open looks for Al
As we’ve been saying all year, I know I’ve been saying it and iirc you as well, but the only reason Horford’s mpg are so low is pretty simple…..he’s not as good as the frontcourt guys ahead of him. His minutes increase in the games someone is out. If we are healthy for the playoffs he’s going to be that 14-18 mpg second unit big unless there is a specific matchup where he’s a better option that any of our 5 starters.
 

Saints Rest

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I'm not worried about Al showing his age, the thing I'm worried about with him is that he's become a pretty one dimensional offensive player. Other than occasionally bullying guards in the post and making the smart pass, the only thing he does is hit open 3's. If he goes cold during the playoffs (which happened against both Philly and Miami last year when he shot .275 and .276 from 3, respectively), he becomes a much more limited player because he's the one guy in the top 6 that really can't score effectively in multiple ways, and teams will start leaving him alone if he misses a ton of 3's. If that happens, the offense could become a bit more difficult when he's on the floor.

His greatest value is his defense (particularly his defensive versatility), and I'm not worried about that going anywhere in the next 3 months.
He's basically become a better, taller, albeit much older, version of Grant Williams. But that is a great fit for this team at this price point.

I agree with HRB, that assuming the full complement of players being available during the playoffs, I expect his mpg to be closer to 20-23, not the 27.8 he averaged during the season. Especially if we miss Embiid and/or Giannis.
 

benhogan

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As we’ve been saying all year, I know I’ve been saying it and iirc you as well, but the only reason Horford’s mpg are so low is pretty simple…..he’s not as good as the frontcourt guys ahead of him. His minutes increase in the games someone is out. If we are healthy for the playoffs he’s going to be that 14-18 mpg second unit big unless there is a specific matchup where he’s a better option that any of our 5 starters.
I expect KP to be fully unleashed in the playoffs with a bump in his minutes. Plus Jaylen Brown's defense on Zion was one of the bigger eye-openers of the season. Both probably carve into Al's playoff minutes when double BIGz isn't necessary (Embiid/Giannis/Joker).

It's basically media malpractice when they compare the 2024 Celtics to last seasons edition.
 

benhogan

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Horford and Porzingis’ lineups together outscored opponents by 13.9 points per 100 possessions through their first 555 minutes together. An 11-minute rotation on Wednesday saw them limit the Thunder to 60 points per 100. On Saturday, the Pelicans only managed a 74 offensive rating against the duo. With Porzingis in help position and Horford guarding the pick-and-roll high, the combination shares some resemblance to what Horford and Robert Williams III achieved during the 2022 Finals run. Their ability to both shoot solidifies it as a playoff staple, with Mazzulla’s juggling of every double-big look leading him back to the most obvious pairing. Luke Kornet and Xavier Tillman Sr. both sat out rotation minutes in Wednesday’s win. Pritchard and Sam Hauser rounded out smaller units to relieve the starters.

https://www.celticsblog.com/2024/4/4/24120787/10-takeaways-celtics-beat-thunder-kristaps-porzingis-and-defense-stand-tall-oklahoma-city-boston
 

snowmanny

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Just noticed that Al is one of the 12 finalists for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. Other finalists are Harrison Barnes, Jalen Brunson, Larry Nance Jr., Caldwell-Pope, Mikal Bridges, TJ McConnell, Mike Conley, Jalen Williams, Niang, Fultz, Jalen Williams.

Jrue won this award the last two years and three of the last four.