The NBA has changed a lot during Al Horford’s 11 year career. Pace has increased. The importance of three-point shooting has spiked dramatically. Back to the basket play is all but dead.
Big men that are unable to stretch the floor are disappearing at an astonishing rate. Horford is a versatile enough defender that his place in the league was never in doubt, but as offenses began to migrate away from the post and behind the three-point line, the value he could offer a team on that end of the court became less clear.
So he adapted.
Horford dipped his toes in the waters of three-point shooting with the Hawks in 2014-15, launching a then career-high 36 total triples, which he hit at a meager 30.6% rate. He’d only attempted 29 such shots in the previous seven years of his career combined.
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Horford leaned into the experiment more fully the following season, hoisting 256 attempts from beyond the arc and converting at a much more respectable 34.4% clip. He only grew more comfortable shooting from deep as he left the Hawks to join the Boston...