Pregame Post-Ups: Al Horford Deserved All-Star Selection
Tuesday, Jan. 23 - Celtics at Lakers
Pregame – Al Horford Deserved All-Star Selection
LOS ANGELES – Al Horford was voted today as an NBA All-Star reserve for the fifth time in his career.
The coaches got it right.
NBA All-Star voting for starters is a popularity contest, as fans around the world select the top-five vote getters from each conference as starters for the contest. All-Star voting for reserves is all about basketball, as coaches vote on who truly deserves the nod based upon their impact on their team and in the standings.
Horford earned his selection as a reserve as part of an Eastern Conference group that includes John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kyle Lowry, Victory Oladipo Kevin Love and Kristaps Porzingis.
“Totally deserved,” Brad Stevens said of Horford’s selection before taking on the Lakers Tuesday night at Staples Center. “It’s good to see a guy that may not have the ‘stats’ that other people have recognized for all that he brings to the table night-in and night-out on both ends of the court.”
Horford enters tonight’s matchup with the Lakers averaging 13.3 points. 7.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. His assist average is the highest in the league among qualifying centers.
No one would make the claim that Horford deserves his selection based solely upon statistics. He is similar to Draymond Green in the fact that his impact is not necessarily depicted in the box score each and every night. Horford excels in the nuances of the game, and his off-court leadership has made a lasting impact on this young Celtics team.
“He’s a huge, huge reason why we are where we are,” said Stevens, “and he’s a huge influence on everyone in our locker room.”
Earlier in the day, prior to the announcement of the reserves, Kyrie Irving made his case for why Horford should earn the selection that we now know was granted.
“I feel like rewarding winning is always the optimum thing for [naming All-Stars], and also the impact that he makes for our team to be successful,” said Irving, who was also named to his fifth All-Star team this season. “Those two cases right there, it’s like – he’s a big part of our team in order for us to be No. 1 in the East and hopefully to sustain that spot. For us, we understand how valuable he is; the Celtics organization and all of us value that.”
Irving concluded his answer by saying, “He has my vote.”
It was great to hear Irving cast his public vote for Horford, but it’s no longer needed. The coaches got it right by selecting Horford to the All-Star game based solely upon basketball evaluations.
Horford is right up there with Irving when it comes to the level of impact each player makes on the Celtics. And oh, by the way, the Celtics are the No. 1 seed in the East. He deserved this.
Shortly after the news broke, and just before the Celtics headed to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers tonight, Horford tweeted: “Humbled, Blessed and Grateful for the All-Star selection … Thanks to my Family, teammates, Coaches, and all the fans for the support. Go Celtics!”
Celtics fans around the world are surely excited to see their big man team up with Irving during next month’s showcase.
- Marc D'Amico