Al Horford returns to Atlanta for the first time as a visitor on Friday.
How will he be received?
The long-time Hawks center spent nine seasons with team after they drafted him No. 3 overall in 2007. He led the Hawks to the playoffs ever year he wore the uniform upon arriving as a 21-year old from the University of Florida. The era ended when he and the Hawks could not come to terms and he left via free agency this summer for the Celtics.
Horford was a four-time All-Star with the Hawks. He played 578 games, having lost nearly two seasons to two separate torn pectoral muscles. He averaged 14.3 points and 8.9 rebounds with the Hawks.
I went through the lengthy list of Hawks’ all-time records. Here is where Horford ranks in several of those statistical categories:
2nd – Field goal percentage (.535)
3rd – 2-point field goal percentage (.545)
4th – Effective field goal percentage (.543)
4th – Defensive rebounds (3,767)
5th – Value over replacement player (24.4)
6th – Blocks (697)
7th – Offensive rebounds (1,377)
8th – Total rebounds (5,144)
8th – Blocks per game (1.2)
9th – 2-point field goals (3,435)
9th – True shooting percentage (.570)
10th – Field goals made (3,544)
10th – Player efficiency rating (19.1)
10th – Offensive rating (113.9)
11th – Rebound average (8.9)
I will catch up with Horford either today or tomorrow about his return and share his thoughts about his return. His former teammates are already aware of the pending date on the schedule.
“Al is a good basketball player but, more importantly on top of that, he is a great guy off the court,” Paul Millsap said. “He did a lot in the community. He is a good friend to a lot of us. He is sadly missed. He is with a good team. It’s going to be good to see him come to Atlanta and play. Fans are excited about it. We are excited about it.”
I’m curious how you think Horford will be received. Cheered for his long-time successful run with the Hawks? Booed for wearing another uniform?
I hope the Hawks fan base will appreciate Horford for what he meant to the organization for many years and not let the business of basketball get in the way of all he accomplished here.