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Perimeter shooting has not long been considered a staple of Al Horford's offensive skillset. Though the big man has put up an average of at least three attempts from deep per game in each of his last three seasons, outside shots were once something he almost never even attempted. Not only did he make just three in his first five years as a pro; he attempted just four and made none throughout his three-year tenure with the Florida Gators, and it took him over five years just to hit a three at the professional or collegiate level. Suffice it to say, Al Horford has not been considered a "shooter" for the majority of his career.

But as he neared his thirties, the NBA's shift towards favoring jump-shooting, floor-spacing big men picked up steam, and Horford made a remarkably graceful adaptation to the evolution of the game. He went from 36 three-point attempts during the 2014-15 season to 256 in his final year with the Atlanta Hawks, while knocking them down at a 34.5% clip. After signing with the Celtics during the summer of 2016, his average three-point attempts per game went up again by 0.5, and his success rate from deep increased to north of 35%.

And now, in his age-31 season, Horford's deep shot seems to have improved yet again. He's hitting an impressive 43% of his three-point attempts, landing him just barely outside the top-10 in the entire league, and third out of all qualifying power forwards and centers. In fact, according to Celtics radio broadcaster Sean Grande, Horford can make some statistical history if he manages to slightly increase his rebounding average and already impressive three-point percentage.


And as anyone who regularly watches the Celtics knows, becoming a consistent threat from downtown isn't the only addition that Horford has made to his game in recent years. Though he was always a solid passer for a big man, he's evolved into a playmaking hub since coming to Boston. He never averaged more than 3.5 assists per game during his nine-year tenure with the Hawks, yet he's on pace to average at least 5 in each of his first two years in green and is currently leading all big men not named Draymond Green in the stat.

Big Al's remarkable adaptability has granted him an incredibly well-rounded offensive skillset, and the soon-to-be 11-year veteran is among those at the forefront of a generation that is redefining the power forward and center positions.


Photo credit: Matt West, Boston Herald
Follow Brendan at @brendansanders0

Brendan Sanders 1/22/2018 10:30:00 AM Edit
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