Healthy Horford rejoins Hawks revamped roster

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Al Horford for the Thursday print edition of the AJC.

It turns out there are parts of the world where news doesn’t travel at the speed of Twitter.

Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts after dunking the ball during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs at Philips Arena in May. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts after dunking the ball during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs at Philips Arena in May. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

During much of the Hawks’ busy offseason, Al Horford trained with the Dominican Republic National team. The center was in South America for a three-week stint – during which the Hawks traded six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and former first-round pick Marvin Williams in separate deals. Horford was without the internet and had to rely on phone calls from his father, Tito, for one shocking update after another.

In addition, Horford’s name was often mentioned in rumors as the Hawks were one team interested in trading for Dwight Howard.

“For me it was a good time to be away from everything,” Horford said.

A healthy Horford is back with his new-look team after being limited to 11 regular-season and three playoff games with a torn left pectoral muscle last season. He will be counted on heavily for his production and leadership during the transition of roster and offensive style.

The two-time All-Star will again start at center, according to coach Larry Drew. However, the coach maintains, there will be times when Zaza Pachulia will start at center and Horford will move to power forward and Josh Smith to small forward. Such a lineup adjustment would help a now-smaller unit after the losses of Johnson and Williams.

“I want to allow myself that type of flexibility again,” Drew said.

Horford said he and Smith are “drooling” over the prospects of playing the more up-tempo offense Drew has in mind with Jeff Teague being joined by Devin Harris and Lou Williams at point guard. The key to the season will be how long it takes all the new players, of which Horford is one of just five returners, to mesh as a unit.

“I know we have a lot of work to do,” Horford said. “We have so many new players. We don’t know how long it’s going to take to gel. Hopefully it’s going to take just the month of October, maybe some of November, for us to start figuring it out.”

Horford averaged 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in his limited play last season. The numbers were slightly down from the previous two seasons when Horford was named an Eastern Conference All-Star.

Missing their center, and his less than 100 percent return for the playoffs, many thought the organization would try one more time to chase an NBA title with the Core Four of Horford, Smith, Johnson and Williams. The Hawks didn’t get past with second round of the playoffs with the group in five straight postseason appearance. Enter Danny Ferry as the new general manager and the roster quickly – and dramatically – changed.

Still, Horford can’t help but wonder what could have been.

“That’s always going to remain the mystery,” Horford said. “We didn’t quite know if we maybe if I was healthy, if Zaza was healthy what would have happened. I think [Ferry] based his decision on our previous playoff history. I think that last year was the year for us if we would have been healthy. I think we would have definitely broke through that barrier.”

The 26-year-old has been thrust into a leadership role, along with Smith, as he enters his sixth season. The Hawks will also need him to regain his All-Star form if they are not to take a step backward.

- Chris Vivlamore

THE LATEST NEWS

* Day Two of practice gets feisty

* NBA adopts anti-flopping rule

* Drew entering his free-agent year

* Still defense first with new up-tempo offense

* Pachulia, Harris limited in first practice

* Assorted quotes from media day

* Video: My report from media day

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

72 comments Add your comment

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
4:51 pm

Man, you have to keep your head on a swivel with C-Viv. You never know when you may be blind-sided with the 17th blog of the day.

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
4:52 pm

I would say “First”, but I may be “Only” with another blog posted in mere seconds. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Buddy Grizzard

October 3rd, 2012
4:57 pm

LOL@ all the trolls pining for Al Jefferson. He’s slow, has worse career scoring and rebounding averages in the playoffs than Al Horford and can’t guard anybody. Yes, by all means let’s get Al Jefferson so we can go to the lottery.

Also, all of these trade proposals are stupid because Jefferson will be a free agent and the Hawks can sign him outright with cap space instead of giving up an asset. STOP CRYING SO MUCH. HERE’S SOME TISSUE.

http://gothicginobili.com/?p=4113#p3

Chris Vivlamore

October 3rd, 2012
5:02 pm

All: Well, I said I wasn’t going to have another four blog day but … things happen. Going to go dark for the rest of the evening. Enjoy!

grimey

October 3rd, 2012
5:09 pm

Hey c viv can we say missing our power forward. I hope he starts there

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
5:09 pm

Well, on debate night, C-Viv has fed red meat to the Trolls. This blog will draw flies like a fresh pile of ish.

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
5:10 pm

…drawer flies…

That Man!

October 3rd, 2012
5:23 pm

Well Its nice to know hes healthy. Now maybe we can see what his trade value is.

I think you have a negative attitude asshoe.bloe

Buddy Grizzard

October 3rd, 2012
5:31 pm

All good, C-Viv. Enjoying the information overload.

Hey Slimjr… it looks like our boy Derrick Williams is trying to get his ish together this year:

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_21684504/timberwolves-derrick-williams-shows-he-means-business

B-Easy is gone and Kirilenko will probably get injured, so this could be his year.

Shawty

October 3rd, 2012
5:35 pm

Its funny that all the bloggers who want the hawks to get better by getting a better center,they are classified as ” trolls” but the few Al fans are what; the cream of the blog page? Whats wrong with this picture?

My question(s) is/are to Super V.

Its it possible that we could start both Zaza and Josh (who is the teams best power forward and one of the best in the NBA) and have Al come off the bench?

Why is it necessary to have Josh who is a better power forward move over for Al? that weakens us upfront.?

Al admitted he was on the trade board this past summer is there any talk about upgrading the center with Al Jefferson or another impact guy.

Zaza and Ivan did as well or better than Al did for 7 million dollars less. Any chance we can be more frugal and get say a Javale McGee for defensive purposes and save the money?

Thanks for the excellent work on the blogs. You are doing really good work and we appreciate you.

Buddy Grizzard

October 3rd, 2012
5:35 pm

Here’s a little something for all you JC1 and JC2 fans:

They’re both among the 20 worst players in the league at helping an offense:

http://wagesofwins.com/2012/10/03/kobe-bryant-and-the-nbas-other-worst-offensive-players/

Slimjr

October 3rd, 2012
5:39 pm

C-Viv is amazing. He’s going to sit back and watch the Fan Club defend one of the best starting 5 Centers the Hawks have ever had based on a couple of coach invites..

Speakes volumes that it appears Orlando was not motivated to take him as part of an offer, we have to assume Danny presented to try and land D12…

Perhaps GM’s around the league have a different take on this impact Allstar/AllNBA up the middle than coaches around the league..Hmmm

Opposing Pt. Guards are licking their chops when the switch is flip on and the escort service becomes fully engaged…

Slimjr

October 3rd, 2012
5:47 pm

Buddy G, this dude has loads of talent. I told B. Jerry just sit tight, the guy is not going to be another #2 Buster ala Marvina Williams.. He’s going to be an AllStar someday soon..

Romo was absolutley atrocious

Bob

October 3rd, 2012
5:47 pm

I don’t want to belittle anyone, but the NBA is becoming a joke. First there is a new rule against “flopping”. What’s next, penalties for “hipping” and “hopping”, “juking” and “jiving”…give me a break.

Slimjr

October 3rd, 2012
5:48 pm

absolutely^^^^^

AG

October 3rd, 2012
5:57 pm

Thanks for all the blogs V. Looked at the footage or Horford blowing past Petro. I certainly think I would want Benson (at this point) over that guy. I guess you Horford haters may want him as the starter of the team, or Magnum Rolle.

Nevertheless, maybe Ivan can work his way into a starting position…. I hope camp is open for all players to get an opportunity – not just making Lou the 6th man.

brigadierjerry

October 3rd, 2012
6:04 pm

slimjr,

would u trade derrick williams for al horford right now?if u would please tell me why so since u are traing big for small?

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
6:09 pm

I like Derrick Williams but achieving All-Star status as a forward is very, very hard (in either conference). I was hoping the Hawks would trade Joe to the T’Wolves for some combination of Williams, Darko and Brad Miller’s retiring contract.

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
6:17 pm

Someone needs to tell Teague to speak the F up during these interviews. Put some bass in your voice and project yourself like a man and a leader. Dang. (Referring to video on Hawks website).

Clarification

October 3rd, 2012
6:21 pm

“Speakes volumes that it appears Orlando was not motivated to take him as part of an offer, we have to assume Danny presented to try and land D12…” so said slimjr

What Danny Ferry told us was that Hennigan refused to trade Dwight within the division. Period. Between Danny Ferry and slimjr, I’ll choose to believe Danny Ferry.

Grandad

October 3rd, 2012
6:21 pm

*[commentary topic relative to earlier blog]

Larry Drew is beginning to wear on my nerves.

He says:
“open competition”; yet three spots are filled.
** unfair to Zaza **

He says defense 1st:
yet, he never speaks of his philosophy of coaching … only;
using hot words such as emphasis or defense 1st.

When he speaks of offense; he doesn`t use concepts, only coach speak.
Example:
I can`t get in all of my offense by the 1st game.
-note-
Any teacher would say:
teach the concepts; then fill in the details.
teaching is an ongoing process;
of course one would not complete the process by the 1st game.
An experienced, well spoken coach who is not in over his head;
one who is not intimidated by Danny Ferry would not be wingin` it
in the press.

We all know LD is an offensive coordinator who wears the HC suit.
We know ‘Lester Conner’ coaches def.
LC is still with us – correct – ?
LD is learning to be a ‘HC’ as he goes.

Having coached – I know the difference between being
-commited- to Defense,
rather than the coach who tries to convince his team that he
-emphasizes- defense.

LD smacks of faking it.

Everything from talkin defense to his mandated trip to Israel.

I`m sorry … 30 games.

Grandad

October 3rd, 2012
6:26 pm

Slimjr

So this escort service you speak of;
the guards are not expected to defend anymore?

Slimmer … you do realize … you are prone to hyperbole ?

Grandad

October 3rd, 2012
6:38 pm

My top ‘5′ Power Rankings in Atl Sports this week:

1. C-Viv
2. Matty Ice
3. Gurshall
4. Kris Medlin
5. Lingerie football in Atlanta

Najeh Davenpoop

October 3rd, 2012
6:49 pm

Wages of Wins, if I’m not mistaken, is the same blog that published the article saying Marvin was the Hawks’ best player last season. Just saying.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 3rd, 2012
6:51 pm

Also, the information overload is great, but I wonder if it wouldn’t be better from a conversation standpoint if all the information from one day was aggregated into a single blog post, rather than being scattered over fifty-leven blog posts in a day. Hard to sustain a conversation over multiple blogs.

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
7:10 pm

Grandad, good ranking, although I would probably move your #5 item to 1-5.

Najeh, good use of fifty-leven.

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
7:12 pm

Another use of that awesome term, the Hawks have fifty-leven guards on their ‘12-13 roster.

Astro hoe

October 3rd, 2012
7:39 pm

The All Al all nut-sucking crew has taken over this blog page smell the nuts and get dizzy….

Asstro hoe

October 3rd, 2012
7:45 pm

“Opposing Pt. Guards are licking their chops when the switch is flip on and the escort service becomes fully engaged…”

Al valet escort service…. mind if I help you to the rim so you can dunk one sir?

Clarification

October 3rd, 2012
7:57 pm

you know I have to chime in, slimjr and all of the guys are right. We arent going any where along as Al is in our front court. This is the same sh i t we have been seeing over and over for years. Let get real guys. The guy just doesnt have the tools to get us very far. Its rather depressing know knowing that your center/power forward has you trapped in mediocrity.

What can we do? We tried to trade him last summer and added teague and but Orlando wasnt interested.

Al’s name was on the board 4 times this summer and we couldnt find a taker. So if we cant get rid of Al whats our next move? amnesty his 12 million a year salary? hell Jefferson is only making 14 million and we are talking about a major impact player. As opposed to Al. This is something else weve got to get straightened out like the Marvin and JJ thingy.

Clarification

October 3rd, 2012
7:58 pm

Its rather depressing knowing that your center/power forward has you trapped in mediocrity

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

October 3rd, 2012
7:59 pm

BIG IVAN FOR PRESIDENT

Clarification

October 3rd, 2012
8:02 pm

The troll cannot take being challenged without stealing handles and posting BS. He’s afraid that he doesn’t truly have a case. Otherwise he’d have real dialogue with other bloggers instead of making up new handles to agree with himself. But he’s afraid that he’s wrong. Sad.

Grandad

October 3rd, 2012
8:02 pm

Any teacher would say:
teach the concepts; then fill in the details.

I am an expert teacher. Ive taught some of the best minds in the world. My lasted pupil make world news recently.

Jerry Sandusky Trial …..Day 6….June 19, 2012 – Page 3 …
http://www.justicequest.net › … › Penn State Child Abuse Cases
30 posts – 12 authors – Jun 19
Page 3- Jerry Sandusky Trial . … I remember how my grandad raised and mentor me growing up and I would love the chance to pass that on to …

Grandad

October 3rd, 2012
8:05 pm

Now, for All you who have questions about my relationships, and Sandusky, well, every one has his opinion. Im on record for what my thoughts are

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3q4mah/

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:06 pm

“Its funny that all the bloggers who want the hawks to get better by getting a better center,they are classified as ” trolls” but the few Al fans are what; the cream of the blog page? Whats wrong with this picture? ”

So saith the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

“Now, for All you who have questions about my relationships, and Sandusky, well, every one has his opinion. Im on record for what my thoughts are”

So saith the troll

Clarification

October 3rd, 2012
8:08 pm

I really regret that Larry Drew is not allowing competition for positions.

Harris is better than teague
Zaza is better than Al

Its not good that the positions arent open for competition. LET THEM EARN IT!!

The only one who has earned his starting position is Josh

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:09 pm

“Any teacher would say:
teach the concepts; then fill in the details.

I am an expert teacher. Ive taught some of the best minds in the world. My lasted pupil make world news recently.

Jerry Sandusky Trial …..Day 6….June 19, 2012 – Page 3 …
http://www.justicequest.net › … › Penn State Child Abuse Cases
30 posts – 12 authors – Jun 19
Page 3- Jerry Sandusky Trial . … I remember how my grandad raised and mentor me growing up and I would love the chance to pass that on to”

So saith the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:10 pm

I really regret that Larry Drew is not allowing competition for positions.

Harris is better than teague
“Zaza is better than Al

Its not good that the positions arent open for competition. LET THEM EARN IT!!

The only one who has earned his starting position is Josh”

So saith the troll

No comment.

October 3rd, 2012
8:10 pm

Grandad is that a picture of you in that link at 8:05?

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:12 pm

Grandad is that a picture of you in that link at 8:05?

So saith the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:12 pm

“Grandad is that a picture of you in that link at 8:05?”

So asketh the troll.

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:13 pm

The troll cannot take being challenged without stealing handles and posting BS. He’s afraid that he doesn’t truly have a case. Otherwise he’d have real dialogue with other bloggers instead of making up new handles to agree with himself. But he’s afraid that he’s wrong. Sad.

So saith the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:14 pm

The troll cannot take being challenged without stealing handles and posting BS. He’s afraid that he doesn’t truly have a case. Otherwise he’d have real dialogue with other bloggers instead of making up new handles to agree with himself. But he’s afraid that he’s wrong. Sad.

So thinketh the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:19 pm

“So thinketh the troll”

So saith the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:23 pm

Urban Dictionary: granddad
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=granddad
if he was Jerry Sandusky. Hence the name for this whiskey. Granddad came over to spend the night and we drank Old …

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:25 pm

“Well Its nice to know hes healthy. Now maybe we can see what his trade value is.

I think you have a negative attitude asshoe.bloe”

So saith the troll

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:27 pm

Reality Check

October 3rd, 2012
8:29 pm

“Well Its nice to know hes healthy. Now maybe we can see what his trade value is.

I think you have a negative attitude asshoe.bloe”

So thinketh the troll