Thursday, January 2, 2014
1/02/2014 12:14:00 PM | Posted by Matt Davis | Edit Post
It was reported a couple days ago that Atlanta Hawks center, Al Horford will be out for the rest of the season following surgery on a torn pectoral. This comes as a major blow for the Hawks, as they were one of the biggest surprises in this young season. The Eastern Conference has been embarrassingly bad thus far, but the Hawks sit in 3rd place at 17-14. It's also important to note that they're the only team in the conference that has a winning record not from Miami or Indiana.
Averaging 18.6 ppg and 8.4 rbg, Horford was having one of his most productive seasons of his career. He's only 27 years old, and he should bounce back and continue to be an All-Star caliber player.
Losing Horford vastly changes the outlook for the Atlanta Hawks this season as he stands as their best overall player. Without him, the Hawks will most likely be playing sub .500 basketball for the remainder of the year. Apart from the on court impact of Horford's injury, his loss also affects the 2014 draft position for the Boston Celtics. The Brooklyn Nets traded their 2014 pick to the Celtics, but they previously traded the rights to that pick to Atlanta via the Joe Johnson acquisition, giving Atlanta the right to swap for whatever pick was best. Prior to the Horford injury, the Hawks obviously would've taken the Nets' pick and the Hawks' pick would've then gone to Boston. Now with Horford out and the rest of the season looking bleak for the Hawks, the Celtics 2014 draft position looks a lot more positive.
The Celtics have been adamant about not tanking, but recently they've been looking like a team destined for the lottery (minus a Rajon Rondo return). It doesn't help them either that they kick off the new year with a 5-game Western Conference road trip, playing those games in just 7 nights. Pair that with the Hawks' loss of Al Horford - and the Celtics outlook for the loaded 2014 draft seems much improved.