Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Kevin Garnett was the (very) vocal leader of the Boston Celtics’ D during his tenure with the team. He brought intensity, great communication and sound fundamentals to the team’s defense. When he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets this past summer, fans wondered who, if anyone, would try and fill the huge gap left by the Big Ticket. Avery Bradley has been very effective on defense the past few seasons, despite being hampered by numerous injuries, and Brandon Bass has quietly started to emerge as well.
In his role as Secretary of Defense for these new-look Boston Celtics,Avery Bradley needed just one training-camp practice before proclaiming that Brandon Basswould be the team’s defensive quarterback and the player tasked with the impossible chore of replacing Kevin Garnett on the back line.
Most scoffed. Bass had put up some solid defensive numbers while paired with Garnett in Boston’s starting frontcourt the past two seasons, but, without Garnett, most figured Bass would be exposed.
Chris Forbserg-C’s Bass Shaping Up As Elite Defender
Brandon Bass’ defense on Carmelo Anthony in last season’s playoffs helped the C’s avoid a sweep, and most recently, he had a huge block on the Utah Jazz’ Gordon Hayward with 2:29 left in the game to help secure Boston’s first win on Wednesday night. Brandon’s block numbers have increased every season since 2010, and last season he had a career-high 64. Forsberg gets more in-depth with Bass’ stats so far this young season:
Bass is allowing a minuscule 0.528 points per play (28 points on 53 possessions), according to individual defensive data logged by Synergy Sports. Consider this: Of players with more than 40 possessions defended entering Thursday’s action, Bass ranked first in the NBA at that mark (out of 120 qualifiers). What’s more, opponents are scoring on a mere 22.6 percent of total possessions again him, the best mark in the league by nearly 3 percent. What’s more encouraging is the team’s defensive performance when Bass is on the floor. The Celtics own a defensive rating of 95 points per 100 possessions with Bass on the court. That’s 4.1 points less than the team’s season average, and that number skyrockets to 106.3 when Bass is on the bench.
Defense was always a staple of the Doc Rivers/Thibs Celtics teams. It remains to be seen just how much of a priority new head coach Brad Stevens will make it. And despite the fact that neither Bradley nor Bass are particularly vocal leaders, leading by example is always a powerful teaching tool. Bass has never been a “thump your chest” type of guy. When the topic of Boston’s rebuilding year was brought up, he basically said that he’s going to be the “best Brandon Bass” he can. Bass has taken a lot of heat the last few years, mostly from fans clamoring for him to “just shoot”. Granted, Bass is at his best offensively when he can shoot in rhythm,without having to dribble, but if he can expand his game, I say go for it. Going forward, the real question will be just what exactly does the future hold for Brandon Bass’ Celtic career..?
It’s fair to wonder what Bass’ future is here. The 28-year-old has one more season remaining on a three-year, $19.4 million extension inked in July 2012. If Boston’s frontcourt of the future is built on the Sullinger-Olynyk-Faverani combo, Bass could potentially be a trade asset in February.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Practice: C’s Frisky After First Win |Herald: Celtics Notebook |CSNNE: Rondo Not Yet Cleared For 5 on 5 Contact |CBS: Crawford Pressey At Point Gives Boston One Less Thing To Worry About|Her Pink Jersey: Rajon Rondo Off The Court|