Even before signing as a free-agent with the Boston Celtics this offseason, big-man Al Horford was widely recognized as one of the most dependable, consistent and hard working players in the NBA.
His team-first attitude and high basketball IQ, coupled with his uncanny ability to pass the ball extraordinarily well at the center position made him a well-liked presence amongst Atlanta Hawk players and now, the Celtics locker room.
During his nine-year NBA career, Horford has been regularly regarded as a top 20 player. This past summer, Sports Illustrated listed him at No.18 on their annual Top 100 Players list for 2016-2016. SI writer Rob Mahoney said of Horford:
Part of what made Horford’s free agency so fascinating this summer was that his game could apply so well to so many different systems and team constructions. If Boston hadn’t worked out, Detroit, Golden State, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Washington, Portland, Toronto, San Antonio, Indiana, or Houston all would have made good sense. Others, too, would have been viable were those teams not otherwise committed to quality frontcourt players. Finding Horford a home within is essentially as simple as allocating him minutes at either frontcourt spot and shaping his role to fit whatever it is the team might need. The essence of his game is facilitation. Horford can post, guard, space, rotate, cut, pass, switch, screen, rebound, and pop to whatever degree makes sense and succeed in all areas. He can spend his time on the low block, the elbow, the top of the key, or the baseline depending on what openings are available, and he can either play up when defending a pick-and-roll or drop back as the system demands. Horford will shoot better than 50% from the field and rarely turn the ball over, regardless, closing the loop one of the most comprehensive skill sets in the NBA. If you still aren’t under the impression that Horford is a genuine star, you have a lot of homework to do.
Now, the 30-year-old has landed at No. 8 on Hoops Hype's Top 30 NBA Players Over 30 list. The only other power forward/center that ranked ahead of him was five-time All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge.
Last season in Atlanta, Horford averaged 15.2 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. He also averaged 3.2 assists per game, good for fourth on the team. For fans of consistency and stamina, Horford was also the only player on the Hawks to play all 82 games.
This preseason with the Boston Celtics, Horford was the headmaster of the School of Consistency. In only 16.8 minutes per game the center averaged an absurd 10.2 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Oh, and throw in 4 blocks, too.
With numbers like these throughout his career, there's absolutely no disputing that Horford is a top 10 player over 30.
Photo credit: David Butler II/USA Today
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