Brandon Bass is emerging as a leader for the Boston Celtics

So photogenic. - David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn, Brandon Bass has stepped up as the defensive leader for the Boston Celtics.

Marc D'Amico of Celtics.com wrote a terrific article detailing Brandon Bass' metamorphosis from a role player to the defensive leader on the Boston Celtics. It all happened last season, when one of the greatest defensive players of all time, Kevin Garnett, went down with a bruised left thigh.

Bass Has Become Defensive Leader for C's by Marc D'Amico
The Celtics were built on defense. That’s how they won games. They operated as a cohesive unit thanks to extraordinary communication and teamwork. Garnett was the man who was responsible for all of those traits.

"When he went down, I just felt it was right for me to step up and fulfill his role the best way I could," Bass remembers.

"This year I can be myself, and I think that being vocal and more of a defensive-minded player is something I've grown into," Bass said. "I think I've got to be the one who just takes that first step in leadership on defense and being vocal and just having a defensive mindset."

Later on, D'Amico quotes Avery Bradley, who said that Brandon Bass is capable of replacing Kevin Garnett's role on defense. Bradley said, "He's a great defender, believe it or not. He picked up a lot of the stuff from KG and he helps everybody out. He's like the veteran for the bigs and he's been talking them through everything."

Of course, Bass isn't nearly as talented as Garnett is on defense. There is no question about that. But what often goes unnoticed is the amount of communication required on defense. KG would've been an incredible defender had he been a mute, but what makes him one of the best of all time was his ability to make his teammates better, by communicating and putting them in better positions to succeed.

As an individual defender, Bass might not be a star, but if he begins to communicate with his teammates, he can become a great team defender. That's what it's all about anyway, isn't it? Team.

Bass Has Become Defensive Leader for C's by Marc D'Amico
"Everybody is responding," Bass said after Wednesday morning's practice. "Everybody is like a sponge out there right now. These next several days are going to be about everybody absorbing as much as possible."

While his teammates absorb Bass' words of wisdom, the rest of us should acknowledge how valuable he is to this team. He'll still swish home those patented mid-range jumpers, but he'll also be the leader of this defense.

"If you look at when KG was here, it rubbed off on Brandon," Bradley told Celtics.com. "Now it can rub off from Brandon to other guys."

I have always known that Kevin Garnett's imprint on the Boston Celtics would go far past his stay with this organization. KG is such a unique player and it was a privilege to watch him wear green since 2007. I can't imagine what it was like to be his teammate, as we still see his personality through players currently on the roster.

Rajon Rondo has taken on that fiery nature on the court; Jeff Green has said he will, "be aggressive, be an a-hole," just like KG requested; and now, Brandon Bass has turned into the leader of the defense. Kevin Garnett might be in Brooklyn, but if Brandon Bass is able to successfully take on a defensive leadership role and bring his game to another level, this team could still be something special.

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