Al Horford doesn't sound totally content in Philadelphia

In his recent interview with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, former Celtic Al Horford's tone did not sound like that of a man completely contented with his new environment. It is important to note that, in his three seasons with the Celtics, Al was never known as a whiner or complainer. He was always the quiet professional, doing his job on the court and supplying stability off of it.



In Boston, much of Brad Stevens' offense flowed through Horford. Not so, apparently, in Philly (per Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey):

The Sixers got the five-time All-Star to start at power forward alongside two-time All-Star Joel Embiid. Horford also slides to center on the nights when Embiid sits out.

But they’ve haven’t come close to being a dynamic duo. It’s been more like the league’s best center being paired with a role-playing power forward.

“It’s not as good as I want to be,” Horford said Monday of his season. “I still haven’t been able to find my rhythm with the team.”

That’s an understatement.

Horford is averaging 12.6 points, his fewest since averaging 12.4 during the 2011-12 season. His shooting percentage (46.0) and rebounds per game (6.6) are the lowest of his 13-year career. And he has the worst free-throw percentage (69.2) over a six-season stretch.

Al was an integral, even vital, part of the Celtics offensive and defensive success during his 3-season stint in Boston. Obviously, not so much with the 76'ers. I have written repeatedly that the Philadelphia 76'ers have been constructed strangely. "The Process" went for size and talent, while not paying a lot of attention to building a cohesive team. Horford, in his attempt to go for money and - what he felt - was the best chance at a Title, seems to find himself in a less-than-optimum situation.

Many felt that Horford heading to the 76'ers made Philly a favorite to win the East - and possibly a Championship. That hasn't worked out yet. The Celtics are in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-5 record, while Philly is 6th in the East with a 23-13 record, and they have lost three in a row. Al's replacement at center, Enes Kanter, is finding his niche with the Celtics, and the Guys in Green appear to be a compatible bunch. The Sixers, on the other hand, may be the victims of a bit of discord. I blame it on poor construction of the team, and maybe Horford feels out of place there.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook






Sixers’ Al Horford lacking opportunities to show his full offensive skill set
by Keith Pompey, Updated: December 30, 2019
Sixers’ Al Horford lacking opportunities to show his full offensive skill set
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER




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MIAMI — Al Horford was one of this summer’s marquee free-agent signees.

His addition made the 76ers a preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference, if not the NBA title next season.

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The Sixers got the five-time All-Star to start at power forward alongside two-time All-Star Joel Embiid. Horford also slides to center on the nights when Embiid sits out.

But they’ve haven’t come close to being a dynamic duo. It’s been more like the league’s best center being paired with a role-playing power forward.


“It’s not as good as I want to be,” Horford said Monday of his season. “I still haven’t been able to find my rhythm with the team.”

That’s an understatement.

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Horford is averaging 12.6 points, his fewest since averaging 12.4 during the 2011-12 season. His shooting percentage (46.0) and rebounds per game (6.6) are the lowest of his 13-year career. And he has the worst free-throw percentage (69.2) over a six-season stretch.

One could argue that his shooting percentage is a result of the lack of rhythm.

Often times, players settle for bad shots when they’re not a part of the offensive game plan. They do that because they’re not sure when the next scoring opportunity will come.

But those aren’t the numbers one would expect from a player who signed a four-year, $97 million contract. He has been relegated to role-player status in a starting lineup that includes small forward Tobias Harris, shooting guard Josh Richardson, and All-Star point guard Ben Simmons.

Horford does, however, have a larger role when Embiid doesn’t play. Horford averaged 18.6 points in the six games the center missed.

“Joel and Tobias [Harris] have kind of been like the guys that have been getting most of the shots,” coach Brett Brown said. “Ben has the ball. So J-Rich is figuring stuff out and Al is figuring stuff out.”

Embiid averages a team-leading 16.2 shots per game while Harris averages 15.9. Richardson is third on the team at 12.7 followed by Horford (11.3) and Simmons (10.5).

So playing alongside Embiid hasn’t provided the opportunity to show why Horford has garnered multiple All-Star appearances.

“I’m out [there] for the team and doing what I can to help us,” Horford said. “But offensively, I’m very limited with the things that I can do. So I can’t control that stuff.

“So all I have to do is make sure I’m there for the team, trying to do everything I can to help us win.”

Horford continues to work hard. He does whatever Brown tells him while trying to help the group. That’s all he can do.

“Ultimately, we have to rely on [Brown] to make the decisions,” Horford said, “to put us in position to go out there and play and keep competing.”

Brown said he’s always asking how he can help Horford.

“I’m not critical of Al Horford at all. I’m more curious about what I can do to help him," Brown said. "A lot of times it comes back to the environment that he’s in. …. Everybody has to deal with level of sacrifice and role recognition.”

But Brown wants to get him more opportunities in the pick-and-roll.

Noting that it’s only December, Horford hopes to find more of a rhythm in regards to offensive involvement.

“It’s always an adjustment period when you are with a new team,” Horford said. “Things don’t necessarily click how you want them to. It’s just a different challenge.”



https://www.inquirer.com/sixers/philadelphia-sixers-keith-pompey-al-horford-joel-embiid-tobias-harris-josh-richardson-ben-simmons-20191231.html

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