At age 36, Al Horford has been able to perfect his role of being a great defender who can hit big shots when asked.
In Friday’s 122-104 win over the Sacramento Kings, Horford was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the three-point line and 5-of-8 total from the field, finishing the game with 13 points. That might not seem like much, but to add more context, Horford is shooting 47.9% from three this season, including 54.5% over the last five games. That puts him seventh in the NBA among players who have taken at least 30 threes this season (Horford has taken 73).
Horford has done a lot of work on his three-point throughout his career, going from someone who hardly ever took them earlier in his career to a 36.1% three-point shooter over the previous six seasons. But for him to improve even more this past offseason and become one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league speaks volumes to his work ethic and commitment to play a certain role to help the Celtics play championship-caliber basketball.
With the loss of Robert Williams, Horford has done more than step up to help this team be the best in the league. Due to a lack of size at center, the Celtics been very reliant on shooters on every corner, with players like Malcolm Brogdon, Sam Hauser, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard.
Coach Joe Mazzulla deserves credit for making the most out of the Celtics bench and implementing an offensive system where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have shooters everywhere that can make the shot when they are doubled or contested.
As for Horford, he has been able to take his role of being a defensive-minded player who can hit a three when asked to the next level, and it is time to give him credit for becoming what the numbers say he’s been this season: one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA.