I think it is time to sing the praises of this NBA star, because he would never do it himself. Al Horford is the most underrated player in the entire NBA and there is no question about it. If you needed any evidence, just re-watch his game last night against Milwaukee. Big Al put up 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists and came up clutch with two late corner 3-pointers and a huge offensive rebound that allowed the Celtics to kill another 24 seconds in the closing minutes.
Not only does Al silently dominate on the offensive end of the floor, but his defense is the part of his game that stands out the most. There is no more reliable front court defender on this Celtics’ team than Al and hasn’t been since KG. You could even argue that he is the best defender on this team right now, but that’s a discussion for another time. For how good he is at defense, Horford is always overlooked when it comes to the “top defenders in the league talk.” After the Celtics’ win against the Knicks earlier this season Brad Stevens had this to say about his leader.
“A lot of names get thrown around, rightfully so, in the defensive talk around the league. There’s a lot of really good defenders, but Al’s up there and doesn’t always get mentioned, and that’s OK with Al,” Stevens said after Tuesday’s win over the New York Knicks. “I think that he’s kind of proven that he’s OK with just contributing to winning and whether he gets talked about or not. But he was great on Simmons on Friday [and] he was unbelievable [Tuesday] on Porzingis.”
Of course, you could say that we are overpaying Al because we are paying him $113 million to average 14.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 4.9 APG. It is easy to say that a player getting paid that much money should produce better numbers. However, if you watch Al on a nightly basis like me and Celtics fan around the world, we all know that he does things on the court that would never show up in the stat book. He is a leader and a role model for younger guys like Tatum, Yabusele, and even Brown. He consistently plays as hard as he can every night which is contagious among his teammates. Al is also the nicest guy in the entire NBA. You never see him without a smile, maybe because he is one of the few that realize that is getting paid to play a game.
I know that I would not want anyone else to lead my team. I love Al and love when he puts on performances such as against the Bucks that shut up his haters. Horford is one of the few players in the league that is liked by everyone, yet they know that he is a terrific player. So if you’re a Celtics fan reading this that doesn’t like what Horford does for us, we don’t want you rooting for our team anymore. This guy is legit and the glue that holds this team together. If the Celtics want to succeed this season, then they got to do it on Horford’s back.