NEWPORT, R.I. – Kyrie Irving averaged 25-plus points per game as LeBron James’ wing man last season. Gordon Hayward pumped in 20-plus a night in leading a revitalized Utah Jazz team to the second round of the playoffs last season.
And then there’s Al Horford who does a little bit of everything offensively that collectively adds up to a lot of wins for whatever team he suits up for.
With so much talent offensively, scoring will be a breeze, right?
“I know people can say, ‘you’ve played with them over the years’ or, ‘you’ve played against them over the years’ and things like that,” Horford told CSNNE.com. “But it’s not the same when you try to work together and figure things out. So really getting to know these guys, figuring out what they like, their spots on the court. It’s only five practices, but you start to get a sense of how they want to play.”
Having an offense that’s functioning at a high level involves many players, including Horford who will at times initiate the Celtics’ offense out of the post.
Last season, the Celtics ranked among the NBA’s leaders in a number of offensive categories.
When it came to scoring, Boston’s 108.0 points per game ranked seventh in the NBA. Boston’s higher-than-usual point production was fueled in large part by the Celtics’ 3-point shooting with Boston being ranked third in both 3-point field goals made (12.0) and attempted (33.4).
One of the big keys to Boston offensively this season will be Horford.
At 6-foot-10, Horford has the size to play center which he will at times this season. But he shoots the ball well enough to where you can’t just leave him open beyond the 3-point line. And while last season his job was to primarily seal off his defender and allow the guards to swoop in for rebounds, he knows that Boston will need him to be more of a rebounder for them this season.
“One of my things is always leading by example,” Horford said. “Making sure that I’m helping the guys in any way I can so they feel comfortable in the offense. It’s forcing us to be more vocal on the offensive end. It gets us talking; it gets us more engaged and it’s a good habit to start building. Sometimes when you are playing, you lose all that once you get into games. That’s one of the things we need to do, keep talking with each other and continue to play through mistakes.”