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Experience: Five Seasons
Oftentimes, a star player will fall victim to injury and return to great expectations. In the case of Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks, however, the big man disappeared into obscurity upon suffering what was thought to be a season-ending pectoral injury.
With Joe Johnson out of town, a clean bill of health and a surplus of opportunities headed his way, expect Al Horford to make waves.
The smooth-shooting big man is one of the most polished players at his position. This is rather significant considering he is a true stretch power forward that has been delegated to playing the paint on both ends of the floor.
Even out of position, Horford reaches elite status.
As for what skills the big man from the Dominican Republic possesses, they're countless. He's one of the best mid-range shooters in the game, regardless of position. Aside from being automatic from that range, he's also developing a back-to-the-basket game which includes improving his left hand.
Horford is athletic enough to run the floor and finish in the open court. He's also savvy enough to facilitate out of the post and from the top of the key.
His average of 3.5 assists per game during the 2010-11 season offers proof for such a claim.
On the offensive end, there really isn't much Horford can't do. On defense, there isn't much of a disparity.
Horford is an outstanding rebounder who, despite playing out of position, manages to excel as an interior defender. Although he's not a proficient shot blocker, he stays in front of his man and alters shots with his effort and leaping ability.
What sets Horford apart, however, is his mind for the game. He's an intelligent player who almost always makes the right decision and excels in rotational defense.
With all of these factors weighed, it is safe to say that a healthy Al Horford is in for a re-emergence as one of the game's top stars.
2010-11 Season Averages
20.79 PER, 15.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.8 SPG