Al Horford‘s role with the Boston Celtics has changed this season. The veteran big man has moved to the bench, as Joe Mazzulla favors a more modern lineup with only one big man in the starting rotation. Kristaps Porzingis’ recent addition has seen him become the first-choice center moving forward.
At 37 years old, Horford’s time as a full-time starting big has likely ended. However, the versatility and defensive upside that he provides will be an invaluable boost whenever he checks into a game. Recently, Horford discussed his role change with Steve Bulpett of Heavy on Sports, where he verbalized his willingness to accept the role change for the team’s good.
“I respect the decisions that Joe (Mazzulla) is making, the way that he wants to go right now, and ultimately I want to win,” Horford said. “I’m always ready. I’m always prepared. This is something different for me. You know, I haven’t been in this position before. But right now I’m just going to continue to stay ready and do what I have to do.”
Adjusting to a bench role takes time. The rhythm is different. The warm-up sequences are different. And understanding how to plug into the flow of the game is something you need to learn.
We link up w/ @YossiGozlan to take a closer look at what Boston can do to improve as a 2nd apron team, & dive into the Cs' hot start ☘️🧪
— Dr. Justin Quinn (@justinquinnn) October 30, 2023
As a 16-year veteran in the league, Horford’s adjustment period should be quick. He’s still playing basketball, after all.
Nevertheless, Horford’s willingness to shift his role moving forward has ensured the Celtics have enjoyed a seamless start to the new season. With such a true professional leading the way off the bench, the Celtics can feel confident that their second unit has a legitimate leader manning the court with them.
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