On Wednesday, Jerryd Bayless will play his 40th contest in a Celtics uniform, but will he make it to 50 games played with the green? In January, the answer was not a certain one. When Boston acquired the Arizona native in a three-team trade three months ago, the man he was traded for had a better 3-point percentage than Bayless’ 2-point percentage for the season. Yes, at that point, Courtney Lee shot 44 percent from deep while Bayless was worse than 42 percent from inside the arc.
When the Grizzlies sent Bayless to the Celtics, he was on pace for his worst 3-point shooting season of his career (minimum 30 attempts). However, with five more makes from downtown on Saturday, he has set a new career-high for 3-pointers made in a season. In addition, the 25-year-old guard became the first Celtic to sink at least five 3-pointers on consecutive nights since Antoine Walker in 2003.
As a Celtic, he is also now shooting 40 percent from 3-point distance and could be the first man in green to do so since Ray Allen in 2011-12 (minimum 60 attempts). In addition, the only players to accomplish that feat over the last five seasons are Allen and Paul Pierce (minimum 100 attempts).
After shooting 22 percent from 3-point in November and 33 percent in December with Memphis, Bayless struggled offensively in his first month in Boston. He finished January with a season-worst 18.6 points per 100 possessions along with a 28 percent 3-point percentage (in January, he played three games with the Grizzlies and 10 games with the Celtics), but has been above 20 points and 40 percent in those categories in each of the months since. In spite of Rajon Rondo moving in and out of the lineup, Bayless has been able to increase his 3-point percentage each month in Boston.
If the February-through-April Bayless is any indication of what he can provide to future Celtics teams, he could be a strong asset. His playoff experience with last year’s Grizzlies is another reason to keep him on this ballclub. He played more than 20 minutes per game in Memphis’ 15 postseason contests after he did not make it out of the first round in his first four NBA seasons. While the C’s will be making changes this summer, the backcourt of Rondo, Avery Bradley, Phil Pressey and Bayless (plus a little Chris Johnson) should not be one to complain about heading into the 2014-15 season.