Boston Celtics: 3 regular season goals for Al Horford in 2018-19

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3: Al Horford
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3: Al Horford /
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Boston Celtics
MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 20: Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Al Horford was a huge reason the Boston Celtics made it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. What are three goals for the Celtics big man in the 2018-2019 season?

You can argue that Al Horford’s play will be the biggest X-factor for the Boston Celtics this season.

If the Celtics go with a starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Horford, that leaves Horford as the only big man. If the Celtics make it to the NBA Finals and match up with the Golden State Warriors as most anticipate them doing, Al Horford’s play against DeMarcus Cousins could determine the series.

Last season, Horford averaged 12.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 72 games. The former Florida Gator made the all-star team while also shooting 48.9% from the floor and 42.9% from three. In the playoffs, Horford averaged 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks while averaging 35.7 minutes.

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The five-time all-star is in year three of a four year, $113 million deal that he signed in the 2016 offseason. Horford has a $30 million player option for next season.

1. Average at least 9 rebounds per game

Al Horford’s biggest flaw is probably his rebounding. Horford is an excellent defender but he is not a dominant rebounder like some of the other all-star bigs in today’s league.

Horford’s rebounding has dipped since coming to Boston. Last season was Horford’s best rebounding season with the Celtics with 7.4 boards per game.

In Horford’s first four seasons in his career with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford averaged at least 9.3 rebounds per game every season. His career high in rebounds per game was in the 2012-2013 season when he averaged 10.2 rebounds per game.

Horford has had to play alongside another big for the most part since he signed with the Celtics. However, this season his rebounding will be pivotal if he’s on the floor with the starting five.

With Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward playing the 4, Horford will be heavily relied on to pull down rebounds.

The Celtics cannot afford to lose games because they get out-rebounded. Horford needs to step up on the glass, and he needs to return to grabbing at least nine rebounds per game.