Al Horford‘s low-post presence provides a perfect complement to the perimeter skills of Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, Chris Mannix of The Vertical writes. Boston coach Brad Stevens told Mannix that Horford has reinforced that notion during training camp, along with affirming the team’s decision to offer the big man a four-year, $113MM contract this summer. “Before we signed him, we felt like he was the perfect fit for how we wanted to play. And everything has been validated,” Stevens said. “The ability to quickly move the ball and make the right decision — the ball never sticks with him.”
In other news around the Atlantic Division:
- Celtics point guard Marcus Smart is expected to be out two weeks with an ankle injury, Mannix tweets. Smart has suffered numerous left ankle sprains before, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, but it doesn’t appear to be as serious as some of his previous ones. Since the injury is expected to be a short-term situation, it probably won’t impact the decisions that will be made in the coming days to pare the roster down to 15 players, Blakely adds.
- Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said point guard Derrick Rose will need to “learn by fire” after spending most of the past two weeks at his civil trial in Los Angeles, Ian Begley of ESPN.com reports. Rose missed five preseason games and seven practices during the trial, in which a jury on found Rose and his two friends not liable in a lawsuit that accused them of gang-raping Rose’s ex-girlfriend. Rose is expected to meet with the coaching staff on Friday to review aspects of the Knicks’ offense that were implemented while he was away, Begley adds.
- The Sixers are keeping a close eye on the cuts being made by other teams around the league, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com reports. A report surfaced on Wednesday that Philadelphia was interested in point guard Tyus Jones. The club could also seek help for its banged-up frontcourt, Camerato adds. “The marketplace forces you to pay attention and make sure you’re doing your job and growing your team,” coach Brett Brown told Camerato.