ATHENS — There was an interesting tidbit from my interview with Al Horford Tuesday after the Hawks opened training camp on the campus of the University of Georgia. As a final question, Horford was asked – one more time – about playing center another season as he returns from a torn pectoral muscle. The 6-foot-10 Horford has played the position all seven seasons in the NBA although many, including Horford, have thought a move to power forward would be beneficial.
“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.”
Remember before the 2013 draft, ahead his first season under Mike Budenholzer, Horford was asked by a national publication who the Hawks should take with their two first-round picks. He selected centers with both choices.
A season, such as it was after being cut to just 29 games, in Budenholzer’s system seems to have changed the perspective of Horford. All the team’s big men with the exception of Elton Brand can stretch the floor. The term stretch-5 is becoming a buzzword in the NBA, with Horford, Millsap, Pero Antic and Mike Muscala capable of shooting from beyond the 3-point line.
Budenholzer used the word versatile several times in referring to Horford, who can play both near and away from the basket.
* Day 2 of training camp begins later this morning. I understand there were issues posting to the blog yesterday. I apologize. Those issues have been resolved. It also affected me from posting stories for a few hours. Here is a recap from Day 1 of training camp:
* I’m still going through all my interviews from Monday’s media day and will have more during the first week of camp from all 17 players and Budenholzer. There were several light moments during the sessions that often focused on the turmoil that has engulfed the franchise the past month. My favorite came from Dennis Schroder. The point guard, entering his second season, if there is anything noticeable about his game after adding seven or eight pounds during the summer.
“I have to show that I can dunk because they put me on 2K and I can’t dunk,” joked Schroder about the video game NBA 2K15.
* Return later this afternoon for updates from training camp.