Nobody will benefit more than center-forward Al Horford from the new look Celtics featuring Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Horford, Hayward and Irving played just the first half of the Celtics first preseason game (a victory), but it was enough for Horford to taste success. “That was great, man,” he said afterwards. “That’s what gets me excited. That’s the way I like to play.” The way he’s referring to is the passing way, which Celtics fans from time immemorial — or at least from Cousy through Bird — know as the Boston way. And Horford, well he’s tailor-made for it.
Helps to remember that Al Horford won back-to-back NCAA championships at Florida, where Billy Donovan’s Gators ran a team-first, pass-first, share and play defense operation that produced numerous NBA stars (like Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Matt Bonner). Then down in Atlanta, Horford was part of Hawks teams that continually surprised by excelling without a so-called superstar — even finishing with best record in the Eastern Conference in 2014-15. Horford is the ultimate team player and he’ll be the biggest beneficiary of the ball movement and expanded spacing of the new Celtics offense. Also look for Horford’s rebound totals (just 6.8 rpg last year) to return to the 9+ average of his Hawks years.