Sports Illustrated’s “The Crossover” has revealed its list of the Top 100 NBA Players of 2018 and Boston Celtics big man Al Horford ranks at No. 30.
With the additions of All-Star scorers Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Horford has kinda, sorta become the forgotten man. On the other side of 30, Horford’s non-flashy play is why some are hesitant to call this trio the new big 3 in Boston.
Why is that?
Horford came on strong towards the end of the season and into the playoffs, be he didn’t have the kind of season many fans expected. Most of that was due to injury as he started off the season battling a concussion. And of course, with any new player on a new team, he needed some time to adjust and find his niche in Boston.
Still, The Crossover seen enough of the intangibles that made Horford a star to still rank him in the top 30 of this year’s list.
Here is what Ron Mahoney of The Crossover said about Al Horford:
"“Never confuse who shoots most with who is most valuable. There are too many other ways to shape a basketball game, most of which come quite naturally to Horford—a star who tends to be appreciated most by those who have played with him. See the results of Horford’s playmaking up close and one cannot help but admire him. He doesn’t make demands. He doesn’t force any compromises to a team’s style of play. Horford (14.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.3 BPG) simply makes connections, moving around the floor as needed so he can always work as a pressure release.”"
Mahoney went on to talk about the trust Horford creates on the floor. His versatility as a big man as well as his passing ability is what sets the Celtics big man apart. However, his defensive rebounding is something he could approve upon, especially if the team is pushing him to play center this upcoming season.
Horford ranked a little high
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At this point in his career, I feel No. 30 is a tiny bit high for Al Horford. Although he should strive this season with the addition of Hayward and Irving, I don’t see him as the dominating big man the Celtics are in need of.
Offensively, he is definitely better than Deandre Jordon, who ranked two spots ahead at No. 28, but Jordan’s rebounding and rim-protecting ability is so dominant that he would play a bigger role on this Boston Celtics team.
With that being said, Al Horford is that stretch big man Brad Stevens loves. His pick-and-roll ability as well as his ability to score the ball inside and out are the positives of his game that will make Boston tough to defend offensively.
If they do find a rim-protecting big man other than reserve Aron Baynes, I could see a better year offensively for Horford.
Again, No. 30 is a bit high, but Al Horford is still a top 40 player in today’s NBA.