Al Horford, rightly nicknamed ‘The Godfather’, is a constant reminder that basketball players are some of the best athletes in the world. His longevity and increase in production over the years is only comparable to fine wine.
Horford had an incredible Finals debut at 36 years old, scoring 26 points and shooting 75% from three. His production is great and his impact is greater, and he has become a fan favorite in Boston and across the country, proving that age is truly just a number in the game of basketball.
Although the NBA world loves Horford as he ravages through unsuspecting playoff teams, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Some see his success as a playoff spark, something unusual, almost an anomaly. In reality, Al Horford is one of the most impactful players in basketball, and time isn’t stopping him any time soon.
At 36 years old, Horford is having an astonishing year. Of all 18 active NBA players over the age of 35, only 6 are averaging over 10 points per game. This list consists of these players:
- LeBron James
- Carmelo Anthony
- Chris Paul
- Kyle Lowry
- Lamarcus Aldridge
- Al Horford
Each of these players has a legitimate shot at the Hall of Fame, with most being first ballot. This puts Big Al in some elite company.
Not only this, but Horford is doing this while averaging almost 8 rebounds a game, and a more impressive 3.4 assists that ranks him 8th at his position. Horford is filling up the stat sheets, proving how much he’s worth whenever he steps on the court.
Horford has taken a leap during the 2022 NBA playoffs, playing a vital role in the continued success of the Celtics. His offensive efficiency and defensive ability have shown on the court and on paper.
Horford is 23rd in the playoffs in offensive rating, beating out players like Joel Embid, Steph Curry, Jimmy Butler, and Jayson Tatum. His defensive rating is ranked 13th, edging out roughneck defenders Bam Adebayo, PJ Tucker, and his own teammate and DPOY Marcus Smart.
In my personal opinion, one of the most important stats in the NBA for any individual player is their win shares. Simply put, win shares give every player a numerical value for each game they play based on how much they impact their team’s success. It is then averaged out, showing a player’s impact on wins per game.
During the playoffs, Al Horford is 2nd in total win shares only to Jimmy Butler. Not only this, but he ranks 4th in offensive win shares, 7th in box plus/minus, and most impressively, 1st in defensive win shares.
His impact on the floor is only positive. Statistically, offensively and defensively, Al has proven himself to be one of the best players in the playoffs, and Game 1 is an accumulation of this.
Beyond the Stats
Advanced statistics are one of the most beneficial progressions of the game since James Naismith cut open the bottom of the peach basket. But no matter how much I harp on them, they will never tell the whole story.
Al Horford is the veteran leader Boston needed. Although his impact on the floor is great, his impact in the locker room is greater. We’ve seen time and time again that Al is pushing this team to succeed, do better, and not settle for minor victories.
Jayson Tatum on Al Horford: “He’s helped me a great deal in the three years that we’ve played together, and I’m very lucky and fortunate to be able to call Al a teammate.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 10, 2022
The Celtics love Al Horford. Each player sings their praise for him when he flourishes, and he will give his teammates all of the credit. He is a role model, the first one in, the last one out.
Horford, on and off the court, is an impact player. He’s a leader, a mentor, and a physical force. Having him on the floor gives the Celtics an edge. An edge of experience, an edge of dominance, and an edge of pure grit. That is the Al Horford effect.
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