Danny Ainge defends the value of Al Horford

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Danny Ainge defends the value of Al Horford

Post by bobheckler on Thu May 04, 2017 11:55 am


Danny Ainge defends the value of Al Horford

Steve Bulpett

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

PLAYING DEFENSE: Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reacts to a call last night.
Credit: John Wilcox

Danny Ainge is the one who decided to give Al Horford the four-year, $113 million free agent contract, so maybe he can be expected to defend his move anyway.

But to simply frame his comments in that light would be to ignore the fact that other clubs — including the Celtics’ opponent in this series — were begging to give Horford the same deal.

The Wizards believed they were edged out at the wire in their pursuit, as the big man picked the Celts instead of Washington or incumbent Atlanta. This was after Horford crossed other suitors off his list. (That included Houston, and wouldn’t the Rockets be even more interesting with Horford in the middle as a complement to James Harden?)

But, ignoring that the deal was the market rate for Horford, many fans and media types have criticized the signing, citing regular-season scoring numbers that actually were comparable to his 14.3 career average with the Hawks.

As a measure of what else was available, Washington’s fallback position was to sign Ian Mahinmi.

Ainge took note of the verbal jabs at Horford, particularly those on talk radio.

“I’m just amazed because we were so thrilled at the chance of getting Al even before he decided to come to us,” he said. “And I think that every one of us is even more grateful for Al after having him with us.

“But it seems like some fans don’t understand, maybe because they’re playing fantasy league or something. I don’t know. But we’re trying to win basketball games, and Al Horford, his offensive and defensive presence, has been enormous for us this year. We’d be nowhere near where we are without him, and I don’t think there’s any player, coach, anybody that is around him day to day that doesn’t understand and appreciate him. Not just his value but his amazing value to our team.

“You just look at some of the data stuff that people come up with, and he’s like the best player numbers-wise in the Chicago series. But people still look at 14 points and how many rebounds and blah blah blah.”

While Horford has increased his stats in the playoffs, coming into Game 2 against the Wizards averaging 16.1 points, a team-high 8.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists, Ainge knows others have to step into the flow, with Isaiah Thomas getting more of a collective defensive focus from Washington.

MY NOTE: No need to defend Al's value anymore. I understand some of the grumbling that went on during the regular season about Horford and his max contract, we all wish he had learned Brad's system a little quicker, but he's showing up BIG in these playoffs-to-date and next year he'll be even better because there will be no learning curve.


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Re: Danny Ainge defends the value of Al Horford

Post by worcester on Thu May 04, 2017 7:30 pm


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