76ers Writer: Signing Al Horford Big For Two Reasons

Keith Pompey explained why the Sixers were smart to invest in Horford

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 03, 2019 - 9:39 am
Al Horford Joel Embiid

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It didn’t dominate headlines and it didn’t send shockwaves throughout the NBA, but Al Horford signing a four-year, $109 million contract with Philadelphia was monumental – for two reasons.

“The first thing is he was the Sixers’ killer,” Philadelphia Inquirer 76ers reporter Keith Pompey said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Al Horford used to have his way with Joel Embiid. The second thing is for security for Joel Embiid. We all know that Joel is going to miss at least 15 games a season with load management and other ailments. When you have an Al Horford, you have a guy who can come in there and fit in seamlessly when Embiid isn’t playing.”

Horford, 33, averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 68 games for Boston last season. Embiid, 25, played a career-high 64 games, averaging 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.9 blocks.

Horford has good range for a big man and can guard with the best of them.

“He’s going to be an asset,” Pompey said, “and they’re not going to miss Embiid when Embiid cannot play.”

But are the Sixers better than they were last season? They added Horford, but they lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick.

“I keep going back and forth,” Pompey said. “Last year they were saying this was the second-best staring lineup in the NBA. You’re looking at it now and it’s a little bit different. It’s a little more top-heavy with the bigs. It has to be to be determined.”

Redick, of course, is one of the best shooters in the league and is great for floor spacing. Butler, meanwhile, is an alpha. He was the team’s closer in tight moments.

“Who’s going to replace J.J.? Who’s going to replace Jimmy Butler?” Pompey asked. “I think Tobias Harris can fulfill that role, but it’s kind of a wait-and-see. We really won’t know what they have until November.”

Click below to listen to Pompey’s interview in its entirety.