NESN's Keagan Stiefel made a bold claim about the Boston Celtics' 2023-24 season: Al Horford is the C's biggest contributor to winning on the roster despite not being the team's best player. Stiefel broke down that claim further to clarify confusion.
"In the quest of finding the Celtics’ most valuable player this season, however, there’s only one who should come to mind: Al Horford," Stiefel wrote.
"In his 17th season, Horford is far from the Celtics’ best player, but there isn’t anyone on the roster who has contributed more to Boston’s winning ways in 2023-24. The 37-year-old’s value has been immeasurable, as he’s taken on a new (far from desirable) role in the quest to finally capture his first title while stepping up in the biggest spots."
Al Horford adapted to first-ever bench role during Boston Celtics tenure
Making the sort of sacrifice Horford has during the 2023-24 season is not easy, but in adjusting to the team's personnel and embracing a smaller, but still important, role in the second unit, Horford has adapted to keep himself as a maximum output player at the age of 37.
Horford's first few games coming off the bench for Boston was scary. Shooting just 36% from the field and averaging two turnovers per game, it seemed as though the five-time All-Star was having issues motivating himself in a smaller role. It had the idea of trading him on the table for some.
That narrative changed in a big way in November, though, when Horford upped his scoring slightly (7.2 PPG in November) and nearly doubled his assists totals (three per game in November). Now Horford is indispensable for the Celtics.
As the season progresses, and as especially when the postseason is upon us, Horford won't have the best numbers. But if he makes winning plays when it matters the most, Stiefel's claim could age like fine wine.