Al Horford’s style of play hurting the Atlanta Hawks?


Al Horford has made three All-Star Games since being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2007. However, does his style of play hurt the team more than helps?

Al Horford came to the Atlanta Hawks as the third overall pick by the team in the 2007 NBA Draft. He has made three All-Star teams and one All-NBA team in 2011. On a team that does not have a traditional superstar, many have put that label on Horford in recent years. However, is his unique style of play in a way hurting the 2015-16 Atlanta Hawks?

Atlanta will enter Monday night’s home game against division rival Miami with a 14-11 record, good enough for the final playoff spot in the super tight Eastern Conference. The Hawks will get better once their schedule becomes more favorable in the second half, but Al Horford is one of a few players that drawn some criticism for the team’s so-so play in 2015-16.

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While we all love it when Big Al is able to connect on his patented mid-range set shot, when it doesn’t fall it leaves the Hawks in a comprised position to rebound, rarely securing the offensive board. There are nights that Al Horford’s mid-range game and thunderous dunks in transition lift the Hawks to a victory, but there are nights where the team will lose due in large part to his poor shooting and inability to secure rebounds.

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He’s not your typical back-to-the-basket type of center, but he has shown that if he wants to, he can bang on the boards with the best in the NBA. Other nights against more physical teams, the rebounding effort isn’t there. What is concerning about this is that to win deep in the playoffs, your team will have to hold its own on the glass. Atlanta isn’t getting a consistent rebounding effort out of Al Horford every game and it is proving costly.

We see Paul Millsap who has comparable shooting range of Horford collect double-doubles almost every night with great shooting and committed rebounding. Millsap is playing at an All-NBA level and while Al Horford does play well most nights, there are always those games coming against bigger teams that Atlanta gets crushed in.

While we are in the small ball era of the NBA, it would serve the Atlanta Hawks to focus on becoming a more aggressive team on the glass. Last year, that fell to the wayside in favor of improved perimeter defense, but since that hasn’t been all that spectacular for the team either, I’d like to see if the Atlanta Hawks are capable of bruising with the big boys to bring their defense back to par.

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If undersized power forward Paul Millsap can average a double-double, why can’t Al Horford and the rest of the Atlanta Hawks rise to Millsap’s effort level night in and night out? The NBA is gradually getting more physical by the game in 2015-16, so the Atlanta Hawks better get ready for a slight shift in how the game could potentially be played in the coming years.