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Celtics GM Danny Ainge reeled in a good one when he acquired Brandon Bass this off-season. Bass has emerged as the Celtics’ big fish off the bench. He has taken the bait and bought into the Doc Rivers’ system. The Celtics surely won’t be looking to throw this one back.
Ok, I know, too many fishing references huh? I just couldn’t resist. Fact of the matter is, all the fun fish wordplay aside, Bass has shown so far this season that he’s a pretty damn good basketball player.
Acquired from the Orlando Magic in exchange for his former LSU teammate Glen Davis in early December, Bass wasn’t expected to take over the same duties and responsibilities that Davis had left behind. “Big Baby” finished fourth in the voting for the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year award and was an integral part of Boston’s success the past three seasons. Despite their numbers being comparable, asking Bass to be all that Davis was wouldn’t have been fair. Right?
In his first nine games for the Celtics, Bass is averaging 27.8 minutes, 6 rebounds and 12.3 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor. Last season, Davis averaged fewer points and rebounds and had a lower shooting percentage while playing more minutes. Oh, and for those who are counting, Davis’ numbers this season are only 22.7 minutes, 4.8 rebounds and 8.3 points per game.
Not to mention, Davis is shooting merely 39 percent.
It’s more than just the numbers game with Bass though. He’s been a “Tommy Point” kind of guy. He’s battled for every loose ball as if Danny Ainge is going to tear up his paycheck if he can’t get his team an extra possession.
Defensively he hasn’t been bad either. Maybe he doesn’t draw as many charges as his predecessor, but he certainly contests shots and has swatted a few away. His rotations are crisp, and of course being an effort player obviously helps on the defensive end of the floor.
The 6’8” forward can finish with authority around the hoop, but he’s displayed a respectable mid-range jumper thus far as well. That’s something that wasn’t mentioned too much when he was packing his bags for Boston.
Right now Bass is holding steady as one of the top sixth-men in the league. Statistically better than other reserves such as Udonis Haslem, rookie Kemba Walker, Mo Williams and last season’s sixth man of the year Lamar Odom, his best competition is Odom’s new teammate in Dallas Jason Terry, who is scoring at about a 14-points-per-game clip.
In a time where old age and fragile bodies have taken over the once dominant Celtics, Brandon Bass at 26 is a young bright spot that gives green teamers some hope for the future. Bass is not some small guppy in this current sea of Celtic All-Stars. He’s a viable option and is actually helping keep this team above water.
Follow Brian Moller on Twitter: @Brian_Moller