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The Curious Case of Brandon Bass

Sebastian Lena April 9, 2013 Brandon Bass, Celtics News, The Team 10 Comments

Hesitant. Lazy. Useless. Unintelligent. Moronic.

These make up a small sample of the plethora of adjectives I’ve used in describing Brandon Bass’ play this season. Hey, it falls within the job requirements of being founder, chairman and most vocal supporter of the Brandon Bass Hate Club.

You can now add “eating crow” to those responsibilities.

Over the first 62 games of the season, Bass averaged just 7.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks over 26.8 minutes per game. He also shot 45.5 percent from the field, while posting an offensive rating of 99 and a defensive rating of 102.5.

But if you thought his numbers were the worst part, then you obviously hadn’t watched Bass on the court.

His gameplay consisted of standing around aimlessly, waiting for an open shot. With the ball, even the sight of his very own shadow would be enough to scare Bass into a pass. On the off chance he did drive it to the basket, the resulting play would feature enough pumps to supply a retro Reebok launch.

And this was the guy the Boston Celtics gave a three-year, $20.2 million contract to over the offseason?

Then it happened.

In 15 games since, Bass has averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 blocks over 31.3 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 56.2 percent from the floor, while registering an offensive rating of 106.5 and a defensive rating of 102.2.

After netting 10 or more points in just 17 of his first 62 games, Bass has scored in double-digits 12 times over his last 15 outings.

Furthermore, according to Synergy Data, Bass is averaging 1.067 points per play over his last nine games. If he keeps it up, it’s a mark that would rank him top-15 in the league.

Suddenly, Bass is consistently moving around on the floor. He’s more confident in his jump shot and is attacking the paint without hesitation. Now, opponents have to think twice before driving inside with Bass on the court.

Huh?

In less than one month, Bass has gone from wasted money to money worth wasting. From “no way I’m moving” to “move out the way.” From “$@%#, Bass has the ball” to “give it to Bass.”

Maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but you get the picture.

But while his offensive resurgence might leave you questioning your vision, Bass’ improvement on the defensive end will make you outright lose your mind.

Over the last nine games, he’s allowed a mere 0.684 points per play. That’s a significant increase over Bass’ season average of 0.761—eighth in the league. (via Synergy Data)

To give you an idea of just how good he’s been, consider this: Among players with at least 400 plays defended, teammate Avery Bradley leads the league, allowing 0.695 points per play.

Bass has found himself in good company, and the Celtics have been better off for it.

Since March 10, in 250 minutes with Bass on the bench, Boston has averaged 91.7 points per game, while posting an offensive rating of 97 and a defensive rating of 104.3. The team has also allowed opponents 100.3 points per game.

On the other hand, in 470 minutes with Bass on the court, the Celtics have averaged 100.5 points per game, while registering an offensive rating of 106.5 and a defensive rating of 102.2. They’ve also allowed opponents 98.3 points per game.

So what gives?

A lot of the credit belongs to smarter shot selection on Bass’ part.

Here is his shooting breakdown before March 10:

From this we can conclude that Bass lived and died via the mid-range shot. In fact, a whopping 62.1 percent of his field-goal attempts came from within 10-19 feet.

It’s also evident that Bass really shied away from close-range attempts. Only 33.9 percent of his field-goal attempts came from inside nine feet. Even worse, he only converted on 48.9 percent of them.

Now let’s take a look at his shot breakdown after March 10:

Not only is Bass taking more shots from various locations on the floor, but he’s also having a lot more success. He’s hitting at a 50-percent clip or higher from all five ranges.

As a result, Bass has relied on his mid-range jump shot less and less—only 46.9 percent of his field-goal attempts have come from within 10-19 feet.

Instead, Bass has finally started to become aggressive inside, with a good chuck of his shots (47 percent) coming from inside nine feet. That’s a significant increase over the 33.9-percent mark he held during the first 62 games this season.

Furthermore, Bass has knocked down 62.2 percent of his attempts from the range. That includes an impressive 71.4 percent from within 5-9 feet.

In the span of 15 games, Bass has taken a glaring weakness and transformed it into one of his biggest strengths.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Boston is a team that has been doomed by injuries and bogged down by old age. So it’s imperative that some of the younger players step up and support the veterans.

While Jeff Green has grabbed all the headlines with his strong play—and deservedly so—Bass has been just as effective.

In fact, he might just be the key to ensuring postseason success for the Celtics.

Now there’s something I never imagined would come out of my mouth just a couple weeks ago.
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  • Chulinho

    Completely agree on that last part. Even though Bass hasn’t played terrific the entire season, he has been the only guy to play in every game this season. Unfortunately, that’s insanely relevant for this team.

    Oh yeah, and I’m sure most of us have shared the same feelings about Bass that you have had.

  • http://twitter.com/dombili dombili

    While I agree that he’s been good lately, one thing is for certain: He’s not gonna be able to keep playing at this level. Why? Because he’s a player whose only* ability is to shoot one of the worst (efficiency wise) shots in the game. He’s been playing better because he’s been hitting his shots and making relatively good shot selections, that’s it. And when it comes to analyzing a player’s shooting performance, one of the worst mistakes you can do is to base your idea on a small sample size. This is what it is. I’m not bashing this article or anything, I really think he’s been good lately, but let’s not forget how horrible he was. If he was a younger player, I’d be excited and try to convince myself that he’s learning the game, but he’s 27 and we know his game already. It’s not gonna change. I know I sound pessimistic, but don’t get your hopes up with Green and Bass. Just enjoy while they’re playing well, because as evidence shows, they’re not gonna keep this up. Let’s just hope that they won’t start getting back to their old selves at the playoffs.

    *I’m serious: Can anyone name me one other thing that Bass is good at other than being a relatively good shooter? Just one.

    • Don Juan

      I totally agree. All he can do is shoot the mid-range jumper. He has no post moves, not a great rebounder, decent defender, I’ve never seen him take a charge, no moves around the basket other than his overused pump fake….

      • LA Flake

        decent 1 on 1 defender. still a terrible team/help defender. still prone to making 1-10 dumb plays that kill our momentum. the worst post player i have ever ever seen. still makes the game so much harder than it has to be. would love to see him play big in the playoffs so that we can get something for him this summer.

        • Don Juan

          Absolutely… How can he be 27 and have 0 post moves. I don’t understand it. Has nobody told him to work with his back to the basket in the off season? It’s unbelievable. He’s physically huge too, he could easily back down/out muscle most big men. Yet he doesn’t use his muscle on the offensive end, or boxing out. Plays like a pus$y

          • LA Flake

            it is pretty baffling that a guy his size can’t back down and shoot over jj barea. but he IS money from 15 ft and he is playing his best bball of the season at the right time. he sucked big time in the playoffs last year so i hope he makes up for it this year.

  • Guest

    Hey is your name from Castaneda’s books?

    • eddysamson

      can someone delete this I was try to send a message to Don Juan only to realize it wasnt a message but a post on this article and then somehow when I tried to delete it, it changed it to a Guest post and removed my ability to delete it

      • eddysamson

        for an IT guy I just failed hard.

        • http://twitter.com/KWAPT KWAPT

          I’ll delete this whole string shortly.