5 Celtics who are exceeding expectations, 2 underperforming at midway point of season

The Celtics are title contenders with these players performing unexpectedly.

Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday
Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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Exceeding expectations: Al Horford

Horford is averaging the fewest points and the lowest minutes per game of his career. The 37-year-old big man is no longer in his prime, but the five-time All-Star has accepted his role as the sixth man and is making a massive impact on both ends of the floor.

He is shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range and sinking a career-best 85.7 percent on his free throws. Horford is also grabbing 6.8 rebounds and blocking 1.0 shot in just 27.1 minutes per game. Boston has plenty of scoring. They need Horford to space the floor, make a few plays, hit the glass, and protect the rim.

The Celtics have a 132 offensive rating with the 6’9 big man in the lineup, and he has produced 0.160 win shares per 48 minutes, which is significantly above the league average of 0.100.

Al Horford remains a key piece of the Boston Celtics. He is coming off the bench behind Kristaps Porzingis, but do not be surprised to see the veteran’s minutes rise in the playoffs. He is an outstanding defender and shot-maker, who is no stranger to shining when the games matter most.

Horford was resistant to coming off the bench in the past, but he is satisfied with his current role and wants to help the Celtics win a championship.