In his first foray as the Boston Celtics‘ top front-office official, Brad Stevens has done well for himself in rebuilding the Beantowners’ roster. However, one of his offseason acquisitions — Al Horford — just got singled out as the worst member of the Celtics’ likely starting lineup.
When Stevens made the move to swing oft-injured floor general Kemba Walker for the fan-favorite big man, the move was largely lauded as a big win for Boston. However, those high marks were mostly a recognition of the cash savings that the deal yielded.
Although Horford was an All-Star for the Cs as recently as 2018, his potential on-court contributions are now an afterthought compared to the financial flexibility that his return afforded. In terms of actual on-the-court impact, the 35-year-old has been designated as the weakest link in the Celtics’ first five.
B/R: Horford Is Boston’s Weakest Link
Horford’s weakest-link designation was given by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, who has identified a low man on the totem pole for every team in the Association. According to Swartz, Horford is really just standing in the way of a younger big man with incredible upside at this juncture.
“If Al Horford wins the starting center job, it’s probably only a matter of time before Robert Williams III replaces him,” he wrote. “The 35-year-old Horford is on the last fully guaranteed year of his deal, and he will have gone nearly seven months without playing in an NBA game by the time the regular season starts.”
Horford was a solid contributor in 28 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, logging a 14-7-3 line while hitting 45% of his field-goal attempts and 36.8% from deep. However, Swartz views Williams as an elite defender and Boston’s big man of the future.
“While he doesn’t provide the floor-spacing or playmaking that Horford does, Williams has the potential to be an elite rim protector and is already the better rebounder.”
He further opined that Enes Kanter could be a better option to receive some of the Cs’ center minutes as well.
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Other Notable ‘Weak Links’
When the Brooklyn Nets signed LaMarcus Aldridge after the 2021 trade deadline, it appeared to be a big-time move from the Celtics’ Eastern Conference rivals. However, a heart condition ultimately forced Aldridge into early retirement.
Now, just a handful of months later, Aldridge is back with Brooklyn, but the team’s incredible talent level has him firmly entrenched at the bottom of the pecking order.
“With Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Joe Harris and Kevin Durant locked in as starters for the Brooklyn Nets, whoever shares the floor with them at center will be the weakest link by default,” he wrote.
Elsewhere, former Celtic Daniel Theis was called the Chicago Bulls’ weakest link. “The Rockets have far higher-upside options at their disposal,” Swartz wrote. Similarly, former Celtics sharpshooter Evan Fournier was tagged as the New York Knicks’ weakest link.
“Fournier isn’t an elite defender by any means, and he’s a poor rebounder given his size. His scoring ability and contract will likely keep him in the starting lineup throughout the year, even though Alec Burks is a capable option as well,” Swartz wrote.