Al Horford has been the best player for the Atlanta Hawks this season and has been, arguably, one of the best big-men in the NBA. As Josh Smith is expected to leave Atlanta as a free agent this summer, the Hawks are likely going to make Horford and Jeff Teague the stars of their franchise. The question that has to be asked is, why the Hawks are waiting to do so?
Horford has put up the best stats for the Hawks this season. He has the highest Player Efficiency Rating on the team at 20.19. He’s also averaging 17.4 points and 10 rebounds per game on 55.7 percent shooting from the field, all of which lead the Hawks for this season. That’s pretty dominant performing from Horford. But that only serves to make it even more perplexing why Atlanta isn’t using him more.
Despite his great numbers and high efficiency, Horford takes just 13.9 shots per game, where Smith takes 15.7 and Teague takes 12. More than that, Horford’s usage percentage this season is just 21.6 percent while Teague and Smith have usage percentages of 22.7 percent and 26.4 percent respectively.
It’s not that the Hawks shut Horford out of their offense or anything. In fact, he does indeed play a big role for them. But the team would benefit a great deal from making him the primary option in the offense as opposed to someone like Smith. Not only would that help them for this season, but it would also get the ball rolling for what is likely going to be a future where Horford is the focus of the offense.
If Atlanta wants to potentially turn it on at the end of the season and maybe make a little noise in the NBA Playoffs, they need to switch their scheme to where it’s more geared around Horford. He’s one of the best big-men in the game and has performed at an elite level all season. To not make him a focus of the offense is just an unwise decision.