Al Horford put to rest one of the more annoying storylines that seems to pop up on the internet every year about this time when he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that he was fine with playing center position for the Atlanta Hawks.
"The league is changing so much and we are playing at a faster pace," Horford said. "In this offense, the way I look at it, the 4 and the 5 are very interchangeable. Paul (Millsap) and I can both play inside and out. It works here. Before it might not have worked but here it works."
Its a debate that has existed since Horford's rookie season. Despite the existence of a few large centers, the league as a whole is getting smaller. Post play is giving way to wide open, spread the floor offenses like the one that is employed by Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta. That makes Horford a near fit for the center position in the Hawks' offense.
So much attention is made about the matchup difficulties Horford faces when he has to guard a bigger center. Little is ever said or written about the difficulties that same player faces when trying to guard Horford at the other end of the floor. The Hawks famously used that strategy last season against Roy Hibbert who was uncomfortable coming out of the paint to defend guys like Pero Antic who isn't nearly the shooter that Horford is.
My take has always been that if the Hawks could acquire a center talented enough to warrant moving Horford to power forward then so be it. If Dwight Howard is starting next to Horford then you will get no complaints from me. If its someone of lesser talent then in many ways you are limiting the lineup just to remain in a traditional set.