While Al Horford missed Sunday night’s game with an illness, he spent the two prior contests cramming words back in haters’ mouths by shooting 14 of 22 in back-to-back wins.
Before that, Boston Celtics radio broadcaster Cedric Maxwell set about defending the man known to some as “Average Al” on the most recent episode of Celtics Beat with Adam Kaufman.
“In his career has he ever missed the playoffs?” asked Maxwell. You can start at that. He is a barometer and a perfect fit for what Brad Stevens wants. He’s understated, he plays the game hard. He’s intelligent.”
Horford had been admittedly slumping in recent weeks. Put that together with the completely non-flashy way Horford plays on his best days, and there was some real blowback from fans. As Kaufman states, the raw, bulk numbers are never going to be there. Horford is not and has not ever been a prototypical “20 and 10 guy.”
Maxwell details some of the things Horford does well that a casual may have missed; defensive positioning and floor-spreading chief among them. Coming from a man who has earned his own status among Celtics fans yet averaged a career 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds, Max’s take should mean something.
“He’s the kind of guy who, if the Celtics were to lose him, there’d be 30-something teams trying to get Al Horford,” Maxwell told Kaufman. “Obviously, he’s not at the very top physically, but his skillset really matches what the NBA does now.”
In so many words, Maxwell says he prefers Horford to players like DeMarcus Cousins or even Karl-Anthony Towns. He explains that because Horford is such a great person and understated family man, it is infectious throughout the Celtics culture.
Kaufman wraps up the segment by asking Max to grade Horford’s play thus far.
“I would say an A-, because he has brought stability to that position. Every day he’s going to go out and work, and give you a quality effort,” Max responds. “He hits big shots over and over again. He has made big defensive plays. He’s hit winning shots.”