The Season and the Future of Al Horford

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Five

We’re taking a look back at the season that was for each member of the Atlanta Hawks, as well as a sneak peek into what the future might hold.  Today it’s Al Horford.

The season:  Al Horford had by far the best season of his six-year NBA career, averaging a double-double with 17.4 PPG and 10.2 RPG.  The two-time All-Star was actually left off the team this year despite the numbers, but a big reason for that was that he came on stronger in the second half of the season.  Horford’s elevated play, particularly in the second half, propelled the Hawks to their sixth straight playoff appearance in his sixth season with the team.

This had to be a gratifying season for Horford after a pectoral tear sidelined him after just 11 games in a lockout-shortened 2011-2012 campaign.  Horford put the team on his back at times and carried them through a barrage of injuries to reach the postseason.  He has developed a mid-range came, which makes him a bigger threat off the dribble, and he showed he can do damage in the pick-and-roll offense.  He shot 54 percent for the season, which aligns with his career average.  Simply put, it was a terrific year for the Hawks center.

The future:  Al Horford is one of only three players guaranteed to be back with the Hawks next season.  Horford has established himself as a face of the Hawks franchise and seems to want to play in Atlanta.  He has said that he will spend the offseason working out in the city and further improving his post game for next season.  Horford has entered the prime of his career and only seems to be getting better.  He’s also a positive locker room guy, which makes him a valuable asset for the Hawks.

Horford has also said that he’s excited to see what Danny Ferry’s plans are with the cap space and draft picks Atlanta has.  Horford is undersized for a center, and with most of the Hawks’ big men on the free agent market this summer, Ferry may look to bring in a true center, which could shift Horford to power forward, which I think would be better for him.  Not only does he have the mid-range game I talked about, but he runs the floor well and can defend the perimeter on rare occasions.  As a power forward, he would still be one of the quickest and most athletic at his position but wouldn’t have the pressure of guarding the other team’s biggest player every night.  We’ll see what happens in late June and July.

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images

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