Let's be clear: Brandon Bass is our most valuable power forward. Garnett may moonlight at his position from time to time, Jeff Green may play the 4 for a change of pace, and Jared Sullinger might be the steal of the draft, but when push comes to shove, Doc will go to Brandon Bass. Outside of Rondo, he's been our most consistent player early in this young season and let's not forget that inserting him into the starting lineup last season took us to Game 7 of the ECF last year. It's why Danny signed him for three more years and it's why Doc can ask him to come off the bench.
For how ever long this experiment lasts, Bass' "demotion" can not be looked at as an indictment of his play. Doc talked about it today:
But the thinking is that a bench role might help unleash Bass a bit more, particularly on the offensive end. Whereas he'd frequently defer to the likes of Pierce, Garnett, and Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup, he could serve as more of a focal point for the second unit.
"That was one of the other reasons we wanted Jared in the lineup, because Brandon's another scorer in a lot of ways, and now you have too many in your starting lineup," Rivers said after Saturday's win. "And we felt Brandon can now come in and score with the second unit. He got a ton of wide-open shots tonight, he just didn't make them. But I think that helped him too, knowing that when you come in with that group, you're going to get shots."
I couldn't agree with Doc's thinking more. With such a deep team, the Celtics really have to figure out what their most effective 48-minute lineup will be and for them to be their best sum of their parts, it might mean subtracting a little offense from the starting lineup and injecting it into the bench. Sullinger can act as more of a complementary player to The Big Three where as Bass has much more spark to his game. Traditionally, bench players are expected to rejuvenate the starters, push the tempo, and play with high energy. That's more Bass' speed anyway.
And if anybody thinks that this is going to somehow damage his ego, think again. This is a kid who's bounced around the league a few times and finally found a home in Boston. I don't consider this a speed bump, but he might and even still, he's approaching it with the right attitude:
"I think for me to grow here, I've got to be more active," Bass said after Monday's practice. "Like I said, we've got a lot of options. Doc said it's Rondo, Paul, and Kevin, and Jeff [Green] they're going to go through, so I have to be more active in everything, on both ends of the ball."
Maybe that's just how Doc sugarcoated it. "Brandon, think of this as an opportunity. You were good last season, but we want you to be great this season." Regardless, Bass knows his place on this team. BB reminds me a lot of Perk sometimes. They're guys that wear their emotions on their sleeves and although he seemed a little discouraged talking to the media this afternoon, I'm confident that he's taking this all in stride. He'll put on the hard hat and go to work because the one guy he doesn't remind me of is #20. If you haven't seen it, check out this video of BB during the lockout right before he got traded to the Celtics.
The Pursuit (via BrandonBass30)