Go devour Greg Payne’s piece on Brandon Bass before you return to read my post, please.
Everything about Brandon Bass whispers understated, but maybe we should be louder with our praise.
He’s a power forward who drew the task of guarding LeBron James (and handled it quite well) in the Boston Celtics’ biggest game last season. He shot better than 48 percent between 10-23 feet, a clip that made him more accurate than Dirk Nowitzki albeit with fewer attempts. His permanent move into the starting lineup, like Avery Bradley’s, roughly coincided with Boston’s furious finish. By teaming Bass in the frontcourt with Kevin Garnett, the Celtics inverted the court, allowing Rajon Rondo more room to roam the paint than ever before.
When Ray Allen described Bass’ work ethic last season, he told reporters that he knew immediately Bass had suffered a serious injury earlier in his career — only someone who knew his body’s shortcomings, Allen thought, would prepare with Bass’ intensity.
Indeed, Bass, who Courtney Lee calls “The Muscle,” is more dependable and important to the Celtics than we normally put into words. We spent most of the offseason grumbling about Jeff Green’s $36 million contract. But while we spent so much time discussing Boston’s seventh or eighth man, the starter who returned for $20 million over three years went under the radar, as usual.
Bass isn’t perfect. He speaks about a desire to improve his rebounding totals (which would benefit the Celtics immensely, might I add), and I can remember throwing sneakers at the television screen when the 6-foot-8 ball of fast-twitch fibers could not score on Shane Battier in the post. There are areas in which Bass could use a boost. Still, he thrives in many ways that make the Celtics more difficult to defeat, even if the understated ways he contributes often cause him to avoid our praise.
Not today, though. ESPN Boston’s Greg Payne crushed his Bass piece out of the ballpark.
One of my favorite parts was Bass attributing his work ethic to Marc Jackson (not the hand-down man-down dude who now coaches the Warriors, but the decent center who averaged 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds through a 7-year career). But the heart of the piece, to me, at least, was this quote from Bass himself:
“Sometimes you want to [fly under the radar]. I think on this team, personalitywise, I’m going to have to, because there’s a lot of guys with big personalities,” Bass said after practice on Sunday. “I’d rather fly under the radar and step up when I need to, as far as communicating. But as far as a game, I want to fly [under the radar], but I want people to respect it, though.”
After every game, Bass will not speak to the horde of reporters until he showers, dresses himself impeccably and looks ready for a photo shoot. Sometimes, he even asks reporters to wait a few more seconds while he grabs a towel and wipes off one final bead of sweat from his forehead. He wants the world to see him in a certain way. He wants to fly under the radar, but he wants people to respect him, though.
(Consider this one last request to go read Greg Payne’s piece if you haven’t)