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In Praise of Brandon Bass

It had been a tough season for Brandon Bass. After finding some stability in Boston, one of the first times in his career he’s had it, by signing a three-year extension this summer, expectations were understandably high. Celtics fans wanted to see the guy who averaged 12.5 points per game, make some strides and continue to improve the Celtics’ offense this season.

Instead, it’s been a far bumpier ride during year two. Bass struggled mightily for much of the first three months of the season. His shot was off, a lot. He wasn’t taking as many within the rhythm of the offense. His rebounding continued to be inadequate as well and his tendency to get lost on the defensive end was a clear contributing factor in the Celtics’ slow start. His minutes dropped accordingly and we were left to wonder if we’d see last year’s Bass again.

A slump though is all it appears to have been. Quietly in the last couple months, Bass has risen his level of play, giving the Celtics a much-needed boost on the offensive end, while holding his own on the defensive end most nights. His consistency has allowed the Celtics to survive injuries and even win a couple games for the team nearly by himself (which he did with his hot 9-of-12 shooting Sunday night).

So what’s been the difference for Bass? It’s simpler than you might think.

“It’s just being clutter-free mentally,” Bass said. “You just try not to think so much and just go out there and play and give it maximum effort.

“You want to play well. Being that you want to play well, over thinking gets in the way some times.”

Keep it simple, stupid. It’s a great motto to have in all walks of live, especially on the basketball floor. The numbers back it up. Bass has scored in double figures in 12 of the past 15 games, is averaging 16 points per game in April and has shot 56 percent from the field since March. These stats haven’t been lost on other members of the C’s:

Paul Pierce on the improved play of Bass: “Well I mean you know he’s comfortable in everything hes doing. You know the thing about Brandon is we don’t run a lot of plays but he seems to always be in the right spots, available, taking advantage of his opportunies to move the ball, and that’s what you’re seeing.”

Pierce on how encouraging is it to see Bass playing better approaching playoffs: “Its good to be playing the best basketball at the right time, and right now is the right time going into the playoffs for some guys to get their confidence going and start having some big games. That’s gonna be huge for us if he continues to play well going into the playoffs, and the great thing about it is he’s doing it all off of the hustle plays and off of ball movement. When you can do things like that without a play being called for you…that’s beautiful.”

KG on Bass: “I thought Brandon was in a nice rhythm – picked and choosed. I thought he was very aggressive, took his shots, was very poised. Defensively he was talkative. The consistency is the thing I always like to always point out. So we can make sure consistently we don’t just do it for a game or against Washington but against everybody else. That’s what we’re trying to get to. But so far so good.”

Doc on Bass playing better: “I think he’s been for a while, too, and I really think it started for him on the other end. Like I said the other day. But you know, listen, with Kevin (Garnett) especially, and with Jeff (Green), he’s just making open shots. 9-for12, he’s just efficient, you still want him to rebound, we want the whole team to rebound more. But overall I think he’s playing terrific. I think he’s in a wonderful place right now.”

Three seals of approval, all crucial heading into the playoff run. Bass is just as much of a wildcard as anyone else on the roster when it comes to how far the C’s can go this postseason. If he continues to play this well, the Celtics become an even tougher draw for anyone come next week.

  • High Rollers

    Pat on the back for the big man. Keep it up.

    • pooperalla


  • hydrofluoric

    It has been nice to see Bass's numbers come up lately. My issue is still just that a lot of the time he seems like he doesn't belong on the court. I shouldn't have to first-pump every time I see Bass stumble into a rebound like I do with Jeff Green, yet I feel like I have to due to the way he just doesn't seem to box out.

    But yeah, nice that he's stepped it up a bit and the confirmation is cool too. Wonder what Bass's +/- for the season is now; it was obscenely low as recently as early-Feb. Might take a look and see if it's less insanely depressing now.

  • The Cardinal

    Brandon really has improved over the course of the season. I hope over the summer he will work on improving his overall court sense and passing ability so when the defense sags, he can find the open man, and developing a baby hook he can use against taller opponents 2' – 5' from the rim. If he learns to do these two things, there should be no reason for him not to average 2 assists and 15 points per game.

  • Jeff

    I recall in preseason he said he wanted to work on going to the hoop more, fewer jump shots. I think some of his offensive arhythmia was due to think time as he tried to integrate that part of the game. Now it's there a little more, and he's just doing the first thing available without hesitating. We can hope that in some playoff game it is going to pay off in a big night at a key time. Or maybe it will just help prevent those late-game scoring droughts against good teams.

  • High Rollers

    Reds is on a roll. A little more pre-playoffs levity:

  • CelticsBIG3

    At least Brandon Bass doesn't do what Jermaine O'Neal did last night….

    Couldn't have happened to a bigger sack of crap!!! Screw you Jermaine!!!

    • Anthony

      JO is by far one of my least favorite Celts EVER! And we had Marbury.

  • jeffery6803

    I come not to praise Brandon Bass but to bury him. Damn the gods that this corpse has risen to curse me for another eternity with his inconsistent play. Damn the gods, Damn it all, just Dammit

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