CelticsBlog's Jack Simone called Al Horford's response to the adjustments Joe Mazzulla has made to the Boston Celtics lineup this season -- mainly shifting to the bench for the first time with the Cs at the start of the campaign and later filling in for Kristaps Porzingis when the Latvian missed time due to a calf injury -- one of the team's most impressive storylines early on.
"At 37 years old and in his 17th NBA season, Horford has been challenged with taking on a role that is completely foreign to him," Simone prefaced before saying, "After spending three years at Florida, winning two national championships, and then making five All-Star teams as a full-time starter for nearly his entire career, he needed to make a switch.
"And his response to the change has been one of the most impressive storylines of the Celtics’ season thus far."
Al Horford responded well to Boston Celtics' top six players-only meeting before season
Before the 2023-24 season started, Jayson Tatum called a players-only meeting to discuss the top six players -- that being Horford, Porzingis, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and Jrue Holiday -- and how they were going to respond to potentially not get the role they're looking for.
"I wanted us to get in the room and talk about it," Tatum told ESPN. "We all are human and have feelings, and I opened the floor and basically said, 'There's six of us. Only five can play at one time. One of us is not going to finish the game all the time.
"Whether it's fair or not, me and JB are probably going to always start, and always finish the game. But we have to be held to a different standard and be able to be coached differently. Whether it's KP and Al, one of you guys may not finish a game, and you have to be OK with that."
Tatum laid down the law, and all six players are following it. But no one is sacrificing more in terms of playing time than Horford, who is playing the least minutes per game of his 17-year career.
And that is pretty damn impressive.