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By The Numbers: It is Time to Appreciate Brandon Bass

 

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March has not been too kind to Brandon Bass, who is sporting a true shooting percentage of 50 percent, which would match his lowest for a month this season. His performance from the free throw line has dipped a bit as he has been to the stripe less often recently. Additionally, for the first time in a year, he is averaging single-digit points in a single month. Even with him having a down month, I feel it is time to appreciate the nine-year veteran.

During this season, two Celtics have played in all 71 of their team’s games. Most likely, if you have a watched a good portion of this 2013-14 season (I know it has been brutal at times), you would know one of them. That would be Jeff Green, the man everyone in Boston wants to critique. However, before looking at the title of this article, I am not sure you would have said that Bass is the other player.

Do you remember the last time Bass missed a game for the green? We have to go all the way back to a far away place when… Mickael Pietrus was starting for your Boston Celtics. No. 30 was last inactive on February 22, 2012 when Pietrus played a game-high 44 minutes in a 119-104 loss in Oklahoma City. Since then, Bass has played in 212 consecutive games, including 26 postseason contests (25 of which he started). In addition, only 12 NBA players have participated in more regular-season and playoff games than he has since joining the Celtics at the beginning of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2012/0408/bos_g_bbassts_200.jpgBass is also in select company with regard to his free-throw shooting. His 85 percent shooting from the line is 15th-best in the league, and his 91 percent postseason free-throw shooting is fourth-best all-time (hopefully sooner rather than later we can see that 91 percent rise). Bass is currently on pace to have more points, free throws and rebounds than he has had in any single season before. He is getting to the hoop at a better rate than he ever has as a Celtic. Not only are his 2.9 free throw attempts per game on pace for his best in green, but his rebounding percentage is as well.

There is another part of his game I am championing: his reduced shot distance. After attempting his shots at an average of 11.5 feet in his first two seasons in Boston, he is down to nine feet per attempt this season. There are many reasons to appreciate the 28-year-old Louisiana native, and if he continues trending in the right direction, the $6.9 million owed to him in 2014-15 are well worth it.

For more Celtics coverage and statistics, follow CelticsHub and Adam Lowenstein on Twitter: @CelticsHub and @StatsAdam

  • Buddy Lortie

    The problem with Bass, though, is his woeful +/- numbers — which are incredibly bad for someone with his point and rebounding stats. And they were bad even with the Big Three here. I’m not sure what to make of that!

    • Adam Lowenstein

      Buddy, very good point about the +/- numbers. Bass had a very solid +/- performance back in 2011-12, but he has struggled mightily the last two seasons. The tough part about this season has been all the different lineups that Brad Stevens has tested with him. 2011-12 was coincidentally the last season that Rajon Rondo was healthy for a high percentage of the Celtics’ games, so hopefully Rondo plays at least 70 games in 2014-15, and we can if they can rekindle the magic.

      • Ping

        Very well could be the case, but so far the sample is pretty awful.

        The most oft-used 5-man with Rondo and Bass is RR/Bayless/Green/BB/Humphires for 105 on-court minutes. That unit has a -25 +/-. Ouch.

        Still, you have a point. Bass has only played 49 mins with Rondo/Bradley/Green/Sullinger, and it’s one of the few + units. Time will tell, but I’m not holding my breath for a leap that increases Bass’s value.

    • Janos

      hi buddy

    • Ping

      Entirely correct. His +/- number sits at -6.8 per 100 possessions, per 82games. The team has scored more and defended better with him off the court. As you stated, this isn’t a trend. BB’s +/- (a useful stat over large enough sample sizes) has perennially been underwhelming. No 5-man unit with Bass on it has a positive rating.

      Throw in Bass’s 14.4 PER (he has never been above league average with Boston) and so-so shooting #s for a shooting big, and I agree “expendable” is the right word for him.

      It’s good to appreciate a shooting big who can knock down his FTs, but I would move Bass in a heartbeat to net something to use in a package deal for Kevin Love (or the likes).

  • hax

    Bass is a nice roleplayer.
    +/- is probably the least accurate stat. I never go by it, personally.

    2 rebounds, 2 points in 5 minutes can have a + while 30 points 10 rebounds in 33 mins gets a -

    • Janos

      is good coment ; player good compelment rondos ‘; other star of team. i like have him as well like you are say.

  • Buddy Lortie

    I’m not sure that +/- is irrelevant over a large sample set. I’ve been using it as a tool since Larry Bird first hurt his back and it was an accurate measure of his inability to backpedal because of his injury once other teams learned to take advantage of it late in his career. It also showed me back then that post-1988 that it was the running team [Brian Shaw, Reggie Lewis, et al] that was more effective than the walk it up offense of the aging original Big Three — but of course the coaches would have been crucified if they had made that change. It also shows that the Garnett-Pierce pairing was clearly in decline their last two years in Boston. But, like I said, my problem with Bass isn’t his play; I think he’s a great role player [and a good soldier]. But if I was into the math like the Celtics, he’d be expendable.

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