Few have flown under the radar more than Brandon Bass this year, but very quietly he's having one of the best early seasons of anyone on the team. He's been largely forgotten about with the emphasis placed on developing the young bigs. He was a nice rotation player for the Celtics when they were contenders and he could be for another team, but on a rebuilding team he doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Yet he's still out there, night in and night out, doing his job and doing it well. He doesn't complain about his role, you never hear his effort questioned, and he's not shrinking from the added expectations put on him as one of the few veterans on the team.
Right now he's second on the team in scoring, second in rebounding, second in blocks, and third in PER.
In fact, he's even exceeding expectations on defense.
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.
I still don't think Bass finishes the year on the Celtics because he makes the most sense as a trade chip and dropping his long term salary from the books would be a good thing financially. But he's certainly doing a great job of driving up the price. Some GM desperate to make the playoffs (Washington? Cleveland?) will see him as an ideal extra piece to push his team over the top.
If he isn't traded, he's still valuable to have around as a mentor and veteran example for the younger crowd. Also, if the Celtics make a few trades and jump back into contention next year, he'd again be a great rotation guy to have around. But it just seems to make the most sense that he'll be moving on at some point in the next year.
Regardless, the better he plays, the better it is for the team one way or another.