“Our guys were not real convinced about that move,” Rivers said. “Kevin was more worried about our defense, our anchor, and all that stuff. I don’t think anyone was real sure about that. I would say they were 50 percent at best. It wasn’t Kevin to [center], it was taking a big off the floor and going smaller. They were all concerned about it. They questioned me quite a bit on that decision.”
Earlier this season, Bass was a bit of a defensive liability in the line up. He was getting really lost on rotations and on some pick-and-roll plays. I can remember a few instances where the Celtics got burned two or three passes after Bass' screw up because the rest of the team was pulled out of position.
So it's no surprise guys were questioning the move. At that point, Chris Wilcox was healthy and playing better. He was running the floor, rebounding, and generally being the type of center the team needed, regardless of being a little undersized. I was in favor of starting Wilcox, thinking he was strong enough to guard other centers, and spry enough to get up and down the floor and finish Rajon Rondo's alley oops. But Doc went with Bass instead, and it's paid off.
Bass is MUCH better defensively. Individually, he's been a tremendous defender. How good has he been? According to Synergy Sports, he's giving up 0.68 points per possession, good for 15th in the LEAGUE. In isolations, Bass is giving up 0.44 ppp, 4th in the league. Those are amazing numbers. How did he make that kind of turn around?
“He speaks his mind,” Rivers said. “On the court he speaks his mind. What I think his biggest improvement is he allows himself to listen now. Before he was so frustrated because he wanted to say something. So, he could never hear what they were saying because he was looking for the answer. Now he listens to the question and he gives an answer.”
What Brandon Bass has become is miles from where he was earlier this season. That's because the Boston Celtics are The Matrix. They are an alternate world where your other realities from other teams don't exist. That would make Kevin Garnett Agent Smith, infecting newcomers to the Matrix… cleansing them of their old ways and either assimilating them, or deleting them.
Brandon Bass is now a part of the team. He's accepted it. He's acting like it. And now he's thriving in it.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Daniels finding his groove just in time | Pietrus keeps mood light, could be an X factor | ESPN Boston: Doc optimistic about allen | Herald: Celtics home in on playoff approach | Globe: Celtics are the anti-Red Sox