76ers' Brett Brown on Al Horford After Benching: 'I Want to Help Him Help Us'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Al Horford plays during an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown suggested Friday that his benching of veteran big man Al Horford is his attempt to get the five-time All-Star back on track.

According to ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Brown said:

"He's a prideful man. He's got a history ... he has been rewarded with the contract that he has, and [I'm] just keeping it very straight, very clean, very quick ... 'This is how I see it. This is how I see it this way.' And not being apologetic about it. I want to help him help us.

"Somewhere in the middle of that, I am aware of it all. He knows that I am aware of it all. And I believe that things will settle."

Horford started in his first 49 appearances of the 2019-20 season before coming off the bench in Philly's final game before the All-Star break. He also played 18 minutes off the bench in Thursday's 112-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center, recording six points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks, as well as a minus-26 rating.

The 33-year-old Horford has been among the best bigs in the game over the past 13 years, and he hadn't come off the bench since his rookie season with the Atlanta Hawks in 2007-08.

Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick this offseason, but the re-signing of Tobias Harris, acquisition of Josh Richardson and signing of Horford were supposed to help offset those departures.

Horford's career averages of 14.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, plus his 120 games of playoff experience, played a significant hand in the Sixers signing him to a four-year, $109 million contract despite his age.

That decision has not paid dividends thus far, as he is averaging just 11.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Video Play Button

Even so, Brown seemingly has hope that Horford will be a major factor down the stretch when the games matter most: "We have seen the history of Al Horford, and all of us would be very naive to think some of his signing wasn't driven to where we want to be in April, May and, we hope, June. Just progress out ... look ahead to see the matchups."

At 35-21, the Sixers are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, which is something of a disappointment considering the fact that they were considered championship contenders entering the campaign.

They already have a dominant center in Joel Embiid, but they may need Horford come playoff time considering the quality bigs some of their potential opponents possess.

The Milwaukee Bucks (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez), Toronto Raptors (Marc Gasol), Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo) and Indiana Pacers (Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner) all have current or former All-Star bigs whom Horford can help neutralize.

Philly upped the playing time of shooters such as Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks and Furkan Korkmaz on Thursday, but when the games get close and gritty, a player like Horford can be valuable.

Related

    CP3 on Fake Laugh at Kerr 😆

    Paul explains viral meme of him faking a laugh to Steve Kerr: 'Cause wasn't s--t funny'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    CP3 on Fake Laugh at Kerr 😆

    Megan Armstrong
    via Bleacher Report

    Meyers Leonard Raises $70k Toward COVID-19 Relief

    Heat forward hosted 24-hr live stream for donations to reach goal of feeding 1M people in April during COVID-19 pandemic

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Meyers Leonard Raises $70k Toward COVID-19 Relief

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: NBA Looking at COVID-19 Tests

    NBA and NBPA are assessing rapid-response COVID-19 testing devices; would be critical first step to resuming play

    Philadelphia 76ers logo
    Philadelphia 76ers

    Report: NBA Looking at COVID-19 Tests

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Teams Can Hold Virtual Meetings with Prospects Ahead of Draft

    Philadelphia 76ers logo
    Philadelphia 76ers

    Report: Teams Can Hold Virtual Meetings with Prospects Ahead of Draft

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report