Top NBA Players: #31 Al Horford

May 6, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) drives the ball to the basket against the Boston Celtics in the second quarter of game four in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Al Horford
Resume: 12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 31.6 minutes, 55% FG, and 73% FT… Team record in games played: 7-4 (33-22 without)… Playoffs: 15.3 points (career best), 8.3 rebounds, 59% FG (career best), 75% FT, 1-2 record (1-2 without)

Al Horford is yet another guy that is so tough to rank because of a season cut short by an injury. Horford played in the first 11 games of the season for the Hawks, and then missed the next 3 and a half months due to a torn left pectoral. Umm, ouch. Atlanta wasn’t a title contender to begin with, but there was a whole bunch of warranted Atlanta’s screwed without Horford talk going on after the injury.

Since Al Horford’s days as a Florida Gator he’s always been a little underappreciated and unnoticed. Joakim Noah was the loud and outlandish one; the one who was responsible for creating one of the all-time great/awkward moments in college basketball history. Corey Brewer was the lockdown perimeter defender; the one who gave Arron Afflalo nightmares two straight years in the tournament. Lee Humphrey was the lights out shooter; the one who actually ripped the net off the rim when he buried a three against Oregon. Taurean Green was the leader in scoring and assists in 2nd championship season; he was the one who ran the show. What is Al Horford known for?

How about for being the one who held Greg Oden to 7 points in his time guarding him in the 2007 National Championship game? Or for being the best NBA prospect of the Gators, getting picked 3rd behind Oden and this other guy named Kevin Durant, who really hasn’t amounted to much since college. For about four years he’s been the “glue guy” on the Atlanta Hawks. Nobody ever really realized that until he got hurt. It’s kind of like how after an actor or music artist dies the public’s view of that person’s legacy shoots through the roof. As unfortunate as that sounds, it takes something like that for us to start to realize how significant they were. Hawks coach Larry Drew gave that sentiment legs to stand on after he said of Horford, “The talent is huge, but the leadership and the presence, he’s the glue for us.” Buzzwords like leadership and presence are the essence of this list. And how can’t you love players who are described as glue guys? Glue guys are the kind of guys I want to go to war with.

One more thing; there is something about these Gator boys that attracts incredibly sexy women. I gave a lot of credit to David Lee a couple of weeks ago for having such a hot girlfriend, but Al Horford took it to another level by marrying 2003 Miss Universe Amelia Vega. Al Horford wins. It’s all over. I knew there was a reason why I’m a Gator fan.

sonnygiuliano