The Boston Celtics have had a busy offseason, but the departure of Al Horford may stick out as their biggest loss of the summer.
Horford, 33, averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists on 53.5 percent shooting in 68 games for Boston last season while serving as the Celtics defensive anchor. The latter is the most concerning factor. Without Horford and Aron Baynes, how will Boston’s frontcourt survive defensively? Well according to an anonymous team executive, head coach Brad Stevens is already at work attempting to figure that out.
“(Horford) and Marcus (Smart) did everything for us defensively,” the executive told Celtics Blog’s Keith Smith. “It’s a big loss on that end. Offensively, we’ll figure it out easier, but we’re going to miss Al’s screening and passing a lot. But Brad (Stevens) is already at work tweaking the schemes for the new guys.”
When it comes to X’s and O’s, Stevens is one of the better coaches around. But setting up defensive schemes for Enes Kanter, Robert Williams, Vincent Poirier and Daniel Theis could serve to be a difficult task. Kanter highlights Boston’s frontcourt additions, but he lives on his offensive game and tends to struggle at the other end.
The Celtics obviously wanted to retain Horford. According to said-executive, Boston felt it would be able to keep him, but once the Philadelphia 76ers jumped in, the offer became too big to match.
“We wanted to keep him. Thought we would keep him,” he told Smith. “But he got an offer we weren’t comfortable with trying to match. It’s hard to lose Al, especially in the division, but building a roster is about this year and all the other years after. We were ready to make a bunch of moves to allow us to re-sign Al, but that number wasn’t a number we could do.”
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