Al Horford has always been among the best passing bigs in the NBA. But he’s taken it to a whole new level this season, his first with the Boston Celtics.
While Horford’s scoring and usage are down from last year, his assist percentage has skyrocketed to 24. 2, more than seven point’s higher than his mark in 2015-16 (16.7). During Wednesday night’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, he dished out eight assists. This was after handing out six in a win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
Avery Bradley celebrated Horford’s dime-dropping Wednesday night, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:
Bradley on Horford's value as a passer: "He might be the best passer on our team – one of the best passers in the NBA,"
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) March 16, 2017
Isaiah Thomas has the highest assist percentage (33) among the Celtics’ everyday players, but he’s the point guard. That’s how it works. Horford is second in that department, and he could just as easily be a point guard for another team.
Take his adjusted assist-to-pass ratio—the percentage of a player’s passes that are assists, hockey assists or result in free throws. It stands at 12.3, just above Nikola Jokic’s (11.9), DeMarcus Cousins’ (11.3) and Marc Gaosl’s (10.9) marks, according to NBA.com. It’s also higher than point guards such as Derrick Rose (10.8), Darren Collison (10.7) and George Hill (10.6).
Bradley’s right. Horford isn’t just a good passer for a big. He might be the best passer on the Celtics.
And he’s certainly one of the best passers in the NBA, period.