By: Evan Singleton
Al Horford is a career 14 point-per-game player. However, he is far from your typical 14-point guy. Horford has always had the skill to score more than that. In fact, the better Horford plays the better his team does. He is a major key to his team's success. And right now, the Boston Celtics need him.
Last season Horford played in 68 total games for the Celtics and the team's record was 46-22 when he was on the court. So, at bare minimum that displays how important he can be. The Celtics were a mere 7-7 without him. However, as I look closer I am able to see a correlation between Horford's level of play and his team's success.
In 2016-17, Horford had 29 total 15+ point performances. The Celtics' record during those 29 games was 22-7. So it's simple enough to understand that when he puts in at at least 15 on any given night, his team's chance of a victory skyrockets. Keep in mind, this is just a notch above what he usually averages (14ppg). So his team won 81% of the games that he stretched his scoring to just one more point than his career average.
Taking it a step further, I decided to isolate all 20+ point games Horford had in green last season. In a total of 11 games that Big Al bucketed 20 or more points, the C's were deemed victors 8 times.
All that said, the NBA is not just about scoring (though it seems to be headed that way). Scoring is not the only thing Horford does well. He can rebound and pass the ball as well. So, I feel it is fair to look at games that he was able to achieve a double-double in. Horford had 10 double-double performances in 2016-17. The Celtics went on to win 80% of those 10 games.
Alright, so Horford had just that one season that scoring 15+ or 20+ or even notched a double-double led to a team's victory, right? Wrong. I went back to his final season with Atlanta to justify my previous findings, a completely different season and a completely different team.
In 2015-16 Al Horford had:
- 39 games scoring 15+ points and a record of 27-12
- 14 games scoring 20+ points and a record of 10-4
- 17 double-double games and a record of 11-6
So it is safe to say, a team that slates Al Horford can go as far as he takes them.
Just three games into the 2017-18 season, my theory is displaying to be true. Horford has only the sole 17-point game for the Celtics and it was their first victory of the season. Will he be able to stretch that career 14ppg number to at least 15ppg for the 2017-18 NBA season? We shall see...
Photo: (sporting news)