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, $20.2 million contract to over the offseason?
Then it happened.
In 15 games since, Bass has averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 blocks over 31.3 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 56.2 percent from the floor, while registering an offensive rating of 106.5 and a defensive rating of 102.2.
After netting 10 or more points in just 17 of his first 62 games, Bass has scored in double-digits 12 times over his last 15 outings.
Furthermore, according to Synergy Data, Bass is averaging 1.067 points per play over his last nine games. If he keeps it up, it’s a mark that would rank him top-15 in the league.
Suddenly, Bass is consistently moving around on the floor. He’s more confident in his jump shot and is attacking the paint without hesitation. Now, opponents have to think twice before driving inside with Bass on the court.
In less than one month, Bass has gone from wasted money to money worth wasting. From “no way I’m moving” to “move out the way.” From “$@%#, 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.