The most significant change to the 76ers’ roster this upcoming season will be the addition of 12-year veteran Al Horford, who will be signing a four-year deal.

Here are the pros and cons of what Horford brings to the team.


The addition of Horford gives the Sixers a capable and productive backup center. Yes, Horford will play alongside Joel Embiid as a power forward at times, but starters’ minutes are often staggered and Horford gives Embiid an opportunity to play fewer minutes per night. Horford is also a starting-caliber center who can play in place of Embiid on nights when Embiid needs to sit out.

Keeping Embiid healthy and ready for the playoffs by having better options next to and behind Embiid was one of the Sixers’ biggest offseason priorities. This move takes care of that.

Horford, at 33, has been able to adapt to changes in the NBA and has shown few signs of aging. Through the first few years of his career, he made his money as a rim-running, paint-protecting, rebounding big man who floated in between playing center and power forward. But as the NBA evolved into a league that calls on front-court players who can space the floor, Horford obliged.

In the last three years he averaged 223.6 three-point attempts per season. After taking a combined 29 three-pointers through his first seven years, Horford took 36 threes in the 2014-15 season. He made an even greater leap the following year, taking 256. Last season, he averaged 3.2 attempts per game, at a 38.2 percent clip.

His touch around the rim is great by any measure, and he is a career 75.4 percent free-throw shooter who isn’t afraid to bang down low and work through contact.

His mid-range game is nothing to balk at. Horford shot just north of 50 percent on attempts between the three-point line and three feet from the basket in his 12th season.

Bringing Horford to the Sixers takes away the Celtics’ best frontcourt defender. Horford arguably gave Embiid the most problems of any defensive matchup in the playoffs. And he was a handful to contain on offense because of the amount of space Boston had. The Celtics are going to be a very different team with the departure of Horford and Kyrie Irving, but no matter the roster, the Celtics have had the Sixers’ number. Taking away Horford, a player who was a problem not only for Embiid but also for Ben Simmons, is a huge plus.

Horford can defend against Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks are sure to be one of the Eastern Conference’s contenders over the next few years and Antetokounmpo is a problematic player for any opponent. Horford has proven time and time again to be a strong defender against Antetokounmpo.

Horford is a smart player on both ends. On offense, he is incredibly adept at playmaking, particularly for his size.

There’s been a lot of talk about Horford being a great culture and locker-room addition. He comes in as one of the most liked and respected players in the league.


Father Time is undefeated. As stated above, Horford hasn’t shown signs of aging. But at some point -- probably during this contract -- Horford will not be able to keep up the way he has thus far.

While Horford is a capable shooter, you don’t want him living on the three-point line. After the loss of JJ Redick, spacing is likely to be an issue for the Sixers.

Playing next to Embiid could create a logjam on offense. While playing next to Embiid on the defensive end is a huge advantage for the Sixers, it might get messy on the other end because Embiid and Horford operate best when they’re in the paint. Deservedly so, Tobias Harris will have a lot more pressure on him to perform. Harris will have to do a lot more in the way of shot creation to make room for Horford, who is not known for his ball-handling skills.