This offseason has featured a bevy of big-man news for Boston Celtics fans: KG's new deal, Darko's comeback, Sully's early excellence, Jason Collins tepid reception, and Fab vs. the folding chair. With all this excitement, Brandon Bass has been lost in the commotion. Bass is a no-thrills, blue-collar worker. His highly-efficient jumper, solid defense, and bruising down low is easy to overlook when Jason Terry is getting Leprechaun tattoos and Jeff Green is throwing down James Worthy-esque dunks. Though Bass's new contract did not receive massive media coverage, it was nonetheless a crucial move by Danny Ainge.
Consider this, Brandon Bass was the 3rd biggest reason for Boston's unlikely resurgence and playoff run last season. Avery Bradley's rise and Kevin Garnet's shift to Center received the attention, but the KG move wouldn't have been possible withoutBass-O-Matic'sseamless transition to power forward. As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett lineup was BY FAR the best starting 5 in the NBA, outscoring opponents by 21.1 points per 100 possessions. Bass complements Rondo with his spot up shooting and presence down low, often the recipient of a stellar assist. He also clears out space for KG by keeping Power Forwards out on the perimeter.
Bass's biggest flaws are size and rebounding, but with Sully and Darko early signs of reliability and the veteran presence of Collins and Chris Wilcox, these will be masked. Last year, there were no consistent bigs off the bench to compensate for his weaknesses. I would like to see him put his head down and drive more often, because sometimes he settles into a pure jump-shooting rhythm. The team is even more dynamic when he penetrates because defenders will hesitate to close-out his J, knowing he can blow by them if they get in the air. I was pleased to hear that he has focused on ball-handling over the offseason because this will add depth to his game. He also displayed poise in the clutch last year in Game 5 vs. Phillyand the the 1st half of Game 7 vs. You Know Who.
Jared Sullinger is Boston's most promising rookie in years, and I believe he will be a legitimate difference-maker this year. However, let's not leave Bass in the rear-view mirror. He has mightily improved in just one year with this team, and his no-nonsense, hard-working personality fits in perfectly with this team's attitude. Brandon Bass is a major factor in Boston's success, and whether he is starting or coming off the bench, he will be critical to our drive for Banner #18.