The departure of Josh Smith made Al Horford think that he’ll finally be moved to the power forward position in which he feels much more comfortable, but the arrivals of both Elton Brand and Paul Millsap predict more time for him at the center position.
Not that Horford is bad at what he does – He averaged a career high 16.8 points per game last season, but he feels that at 6’10, he gets to guard players too big for him, and that wears him down throughout the games and takes away from his offensive ability.
The Hawks did use Johan Petro in the starting lineup a few times against the Pacers this postseason, but Petro played 17 minutes a night, and doesn’t provide any offense. In any case, starting him means both Millsap and Brand are on the bench, and that’s not something that’s likely going to happen.
No, the more likely scenario is Horford continuing to play as a center, while Millsap will start next to him, and possibly when Elton Brand is on the floor, Horford will have a chance to guard the smaller of the bigs and feel a bit more comfortable, at least for a short while.
I was hoping to play more in the power forward position. We couldn’t work things out with Zaza and he had to leave. I understand that now I have to go play some center. I would like to play a little more power forward. I was talking to coach and the way that the offense works, the 4 and the 5 are pretty much interchangeable. I feel like Paul and I will be able to complement each other. Having to guard the big 5 night in and night out, I felt took a toll on me so I’m hoping they will be able to find a big body, a big player to be able to help. For sure, there is still some (roster) building to be done.
Millsap as a center? It’s hard to see that happening, especially on defense, unless the Hawks are playing another undersized team. Both Millsap and Brand aren’t the shot blockers Josh Smith is, which makes it even more questionable.
With Horford making $36 million for the next three years and arguably being the team’s best player, the Hawks need to find ways to make him happy, and part of that is finding time for him in the power forward position. Considering that there aren’t many centers left on the market, we aren’t likely to see it happen much in 2013-2014.