Every team in every sport needs a guy that can do a little bit of everything. In basketball you’d hope for someone that can defend, pass, score, and lead a group of men. Not many players possess all those important attributes, but one Celtics player was the embodiment of that player, Al Horford.
Big Al has been playing in the NBA for 12 seasons, and has been one of the league’s best players throughout that stretch. Horford is averaging a modest 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists a game for his career. Those numbers don’t exactly wow you, but it’s the plays you don’t see that make ‘Average Al’ so much more than average. Setting screens, closing out, boxing out, and taking the youngsters under his wing are just a few of the many important traits that don’t show up in the box score.
Horford is the epitome of a leader, not just with words but with his actions. He’s a hard worker, good father, and tough player. All attributes that younger players feed off of. All this being said Horford is the Celtics most important player. When he declined his option to become a free agent on Tuesday the Celtics just lost their leader.
The five time all star will now be looking for a four year deal with another team, it’s almost certain Horford will never wear the Celtic green again.
Losing Kyrie (which was inevitable) might’ve seemed like the bigger hit to the Celtics, but it wasn’t. Horford was the piece that made the Celtics a great, well knit unit. Irving is the cancer who tore all that down.
I can’t blame Horford for opting out, this is his real last chance to get another sizable contract before he’ll retire. All the power to him.
People might say he’s too old, or can’t get it done anymore, but that’s just not the case. At 33, his game is the same as it was at 23. He plays an old man type of game that will translate for years to come.
The Celtics, without Al Horford, see themselves in a self induced predicament.
No leader. No center. No stars. All of that will lead to no success. Either Danny Ainge should go all in for Horford, or just rebuild with the young guys, because without him the Celtics will be the definition of mediocre.
He’s the Celtics most important player right now, and whether fans realize it or not, this will be a monumental loss. The core of Tatum, Brown, and Hayward should still be solid to say the least, but it’s just not a championship worthy core. Not even close.
Al Horford is a Celtic. It’s almost like he was born to play for them. If Ainge doesn’t go all in to keep him in Boston, he’s the one to blame.
Every great team needs an Al Horford, and the Celtics need Al Horford to be that great team they’re on the brink of becoming. Boston got rid of the bad in Kyrie, but they’re also losing the good in Horford. Not ideal.
Things just haven’t gone the Celtics way on or off the court in 2019, and if there isn’t a drastic change 2020 looks like it’s going to be the same.
No Al, no championship. Simple.
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