Q&A: Al Horford

Posted by Unknown on Friday, October 24, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Chris Vivlamore 

Q:What are your expectations for the team for the upcoming season?
A: More than just expectations, just anxious and excited to get started with the regular season. I felt the team we finished with some momentum last season, and I’m glad to be back and help build on that and be a part of it this season.
Q:What are your expectations personally for the upcoming season?
A: Individually, you always have personal expectations. For me, one of my focuses is that I want to be better defensively as a player and on offense being able to keep getting acclimated to (coach Mike Budenholzer’s) offensive system and to try to be a more efficient player. To keep building on what I had going last season.
Q:How have you evolved as a player over your seven-year career?
A: I feel like I have evolved a lot. Every year I have tried to definitely add different things to my game. I feel that the game has slowed down for me. I feel like now I have a much better understanding of the game. I have extended by range as far as shooting. I’m driving the ball more. Those are things that I wasn’t able to do when I got here to Atlanta.
Q:Are you 100 percent healthy going into the season?
A: I feel really good physically. Just being honest, I don’t think I’m right at 100 percent, but I am pretty good and I’m in a really good place. I’m just excited to be back on the court helping the guys and helping our team win.
Q:What was the hardest part of going through this last injury and the rehabilitation?
A: It was definitely not being able to be there for the team. Individually, I felt like I was starting to figure things out, and I was getting really comfortable in coach’s system. The injury was a setback, but I looked at it as once I got the opportunity to start working and get myself back feeling good about myself and my game and how I could help the team.
Q:Coming back from the injury, where are you in developing a chemistry with Paul Millsap?
A: It’s still going. The good thing about Paul is that Paul is a very smart player. He is one of those great players who understands the game very well and he’s easy to play with. Yeah, we still have to keep developing that chemistry because the more comfortable we get with each other on the court and know the other’s tendencies, the more efficient we are going to be. That’s why it was so important for me to start playing in the preseason, so once we start the season we have some sort of base and we’ll keep building. It’s something that over time the more we play together the more we’ll develop the chemistry.
Q:Same question about Jeff Teague?
A: With Jeff, it’s different. With Jeff, I’m much more comfortable. We’ve played for a few years together, so he knows where I like the ball. I know some of the things he is going to do. I told him the other day, he is giving me some great passes and the ball was falling out (of the basket). They were going in and coming back out. I told him, ‘Hey, I’m getting my timing, I’m getting my game together. Those are going to go in. Once the regular season starts don’t worry about it.’ As far as Jeff, he’s on top of it. He’s great. It’s more that I need to catch up. He understands that.”
Q:What would you say is the strength of this team?
A: I think the strength of our team is the unselfishness. We have a group of guys are willing to help one another on the defensive end and share the ball offensively. I think that is a really big strength. When you talk about team basketball and winning, I think that is the biggest key.
Q:What would you way is the weakness of this team?
A: I would probably say that we need to make sure that we are more consistent throughout games with our defensive intensity. At times we look really, really good, and I know everybody goes through that, but for us those lapses can cost us games or affect us. So it’s important that our focus has to be to put together as many complete games as we can, playing well, playing with energy, playing the right way.
Q:Finally, you are a free agent after next season, when the new television contract kicks in. Have you given any thought about your future?
A: Not really. My focus right now is on this season. I know there are some other guys who will be free agents after this season but my biggest concern was to get back healthy, get back playing and to go out to prove to people that we have a good team and that we are ready to compete and ready to play.