With the most exciting moments of the offseason behind us, Celtics Town is counting down the Celtics’ roster from 16 to one. We’ll offer speculation on the role each player has to play, and where they’ll be in the rotation as we look towards the upcoming season. If you missed the last column in this series you can check it out here.
You can make a pretty compelling argument that Brandon Bass is underrated. Acquired from the Orlando Magic for Big Baby Davis (and Von Wafer!), Bass was an integral part of the Celtics’ success during the past year. After the postseason he immediately started working towards resigning with the Celtics, eventually agreeing to a contract paying him 19 million over three years which many believed to be below market value, so why no love for Brandon Bass?
While we’ve spent a good deal of time lamenting Brandon Bass’s (lack of) post game, Jesse pointed out that Bass made more than 46% of his shots from 16-23 feet, a number that puts him on par with guys like Dirk Nowitzki. Bass might be a one-dimensional offensive player, but he’s extremely good at what he does. Despite the criticism he received last year for his uneven performance during the playoffs, Bass had the best Offensive Rating of any Celtic over that period (111, and it wasn’t even close). The spacing he can create hanging at the elbow or running the pick and roll was integral to the Celtics success last year (especially Rondo’s), and with Bradley returning and Lee a talented slasher in his own right he’ll have an even bigger impact going forward. Oh, and he’s the third best playoff free throw shooter of all time (not among big-men, third best period), so there’s that too, for whatever it’s worth.
The biggest problem with Bass is his size. Generously listed at 6’8″ (he’s just a shade over 6’6″), Bass isn’t what you look for in a prototypical NBA power forward, or at least he wasn’t. But with the NBA trending more and more towards smaller lineups, it’s much easier to mask Bass’ deficiencies; he just makes the starting lineup a “small” one by default. If you look around the Eastern Conference most of the starting power-forwards on playoff contenders are stretch fours (or think they are: Looking at you, Spencer Hawes), and Bass fit’s right in. While he’s not the greatest rebounder (6.2 RPG last year) his crazy 7’2″ wingspan helps him match up with taller 4′s on the block and also doesn’t make him a bad choice when it comes to defending LeBron (see: Eastern Conference Finals Game 7, at least the first half). While Bass doesn’t have the speed Jeff Green does to stay with LeBron on the wings (I distinctly remember screaming at my TV telling him to sag off LeBron these past playoffs. He didn’t hear me.), he also outweighs Green by a good 15 pounds and has a three inch higher standing reach (8’10″) making him a fine choice to body up bigger players on the block.
Bass is not a superstar, but he’s a quality role player. He’s loyal and shows his energy and passion for the game every time he steps on the court. With an impeccable midrange game and ever-improving defense, Bass’ skill-set compliments the rest of the Celtics quite well. With Rondo throwing him the ball and Garnett screaming in his ear, there’s no reason to believe Bass can’t continue to improve on both ends of the court. Everything Bass has achieved he’s done through hard work and perseverance, and there’s no better attitude for a Celtic to bring into the Garden every night.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter, @OffensiveG.