Discussion of the Hawks frontcourt always begins with Josh Smith, but perhaps as big of a storyline this season is the return of Al Horford. Horford went down 11 games into last season with a torn pectoral muscle and, while the Hawks overcame the injury (very impressively), his presence was missed on and off the court. The disappointment of losing Al that early was twofold; first, he was coming off of a career year and seemed primed to continue that development, and second, the frontcourt tandem of Smoove and Horford had the potential to be one of the best in the league (in the strata of Gasol/Bynum and Gasol/Randolph). Horford's emphatic return in the Boston series (where he appeared at times to be the only player trying) gives hope once again that this year can see Al/Josh duo ascend into the ranks of the elite.

Al's 2010-11 campaign was another All-Star performance for the soft-spoken former Gator. He averaged 15.3 ppg, shot 55.7% from the field, had 9.4 rpg, and had a career high usage rate of 18.5% (next highest 2009-10 16.6%). He got off to a slower start to the 2011-12 season prior to the injury as his usage rate went back down to 16.3%, but he continued to shoot the ball well at a 55.3% clip and was averaging 12.4 ppg and 7 rpg.