When the new season finally rolls around, the Atlanta Hawks are going to feel like they’ve picked up a new superstar. Although new signings, Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore will help Atlanta to get better, it’s not them I’m referring to either. Having been without him since December 26, the Hawks could be forgiven if they had forgotten just how good Al Horford is.
Without Horford, the Hawks put together a valiant effort in both making the Playoffs, and not going away quietly when they got there. With Horford in tow, Atlanta were a very different prospect though. When the Dominican went down with a torn pectoral muscle for the second time in three years, the Hawks were the third seed in the East and playing some of the best basketball in the NBA.
Horford is an incredibly skilled big man, the type that is rarely found in the NBA. Offensively, he can bang bodies inside, dish assists to teammates and step back and knock down jump shots, while on the other end, his combination of defense, shot blocking, and general awareness, makes him one of the smartest defenders in the league. That doesn’t mean that there still isn’t room for Horford to improve though.
Horford has an incredibly efficient and sweet jump shot, but there still seems to be potential for him to expand his range. The Hawks offense is built on spacing, ball movement and three-point shooting, and there’s no reason that Horford can’t play his part in the latter.
In fact, the numbers from last year show that Horford was trying to. In only 29 games before being struck down with injury, Horford attempted eleven three-pointers, only two less than he had attempted in the previous 391 games of his career.
Horford made four of those eleven attempts last season too, and in fact, he averages 34.5 percent from deep for his career, which isn’t a particularly unhealthy number for a center. Horford has all the fundamentals to be able to expand his range, and there are a number of reasons why it makes sense for both him and the Hawks.
Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why Horford should become a more willing shooter from deep.