Brandon Bass earned himself a big contract with his play last year. He's hardly backed it up.
So here we have Brandon Bass. He's an undersized power forward who utilized an excellent mid-range game and a lot of effort and hustle to turn himself from a bench/role player into a crucial part of the starting lineup on a championship contender.
The Celtics came within one win of the NBA Finals last year and that was with Bass having the season of his life, playing the most minutes any team had ever given it and parlaying that confidence and subsequent solid numbers strong play into a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with said team.
Not even half a season later, he's "frustrated," "not satisfied," and talking about his minutes and his touches.
And then, on Thursday morning, we get this from Celts' reporter (and CelticsBlog contributor) Jimmy Toscano:
Bass speaks to media. Gives off vibe that he's a bit happier with role on offense w/o Rondo dominating ball so much.
Bass speaks to media. Gives off vibe that he's a bit happier with role on offense w/o Rondo dominating ball so much.— Jimmy Toscano (@Jimmy_Toscano) January 31, 2013
Sorry, but that stinks.
Bass seems to have forgotten a few things. For starters, the Celtics just became the first team to offer Bass any real job security over the course of his entire career with a three-year, $19.35 million deal. But now he's "frustrated," and "not satisfied." The team gave him that contract because he was so good in 2012, averaging career highs in scoring and rebounding, getting more shot attempts than in any other season in his career and hitting for 48 percent from the floor.
Bass's response to this was to shoot 44 percent in November and 42 percent in December. His minutes were down a bit in each of those two months but only because the Celts now have two players, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger, who they didn't have last year who play the same position and need to be on the floor too (Sullinger because of his strong physical play and Green because of his huge contract).
He has been in and out of the starting lineup but has been out there with the first unit for 33 of 45 opening tips thus far. And he isn't getting as many shots (6.8 field goal attempts per game so far this season after 10.7 last season). Could those two factors equal why his numbers in every conceivable category are down from last year?
Or is it because his point guard, Rajon Rondo, the same guy who made him those $19.35 million by always getting him the ball in an open spot between 12 and 15 feet from the basket, suddenly morphed into a completely different player, one who "dominates the ball" and isn't getting him the ball where he needs to get it?
Nah. It's because Bass is missing so many of the open looks he hit last year. Yes, his usage rate is down from last season (19.9 last year, 15.6 this year). And yes, because the Celts are deeper than they were last season, there aren't as many minutes or shots to go around.
But what Bass needs to do is stop talking and start producing. No one is asking him to be an all-star. He simply needs to take advantage of his opportunities when they are are there, do his job, make more of those wide open, mid-range jumpers and just do all the little things he did to get himself to where he is now.
Because the more he complains and simultaneously fails to produce, the more he looks like a contract year wonder who took the money and ran.
Brandon Bass is a nice player who proved last season that he can contribute mightily to a contending team. It was a lock that the Celts so badly wanted him back after what he brought to them last year and his re-signing was almost universally applauded by the fan base and the media. He played 38 minutes in the C's win over Sacramento on Wednesday night (in no small part because Sullinger left the game in the first quarter with back spasms) and responded with his best all-around performance in almost two months.
Now, he needs to keep it rolling. And keep his mouth closed.