ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg has an interesting post about Brandon Bass' adjustment to playing alongside the Big Four. In it, we learn that Bass is the team's best on-ball defender:
Bass currently ranks as Boston's best overall on-ball defender. For the season, he's allowed a mere 0.658 points per play, ranking him in the 96th percentile among all NBA players. Yes, he's even slightly ahead of Garnett (0.689 ppp, 95th percentile). Now, those missed rotations might have padded his stats a little bit (players will invariably be scored upon more when they scramble to help), but a 333-possession sample size through 44 games suggests Bass' defensive numbers are legit.
As a grumpy old man, I try not to get too wrapped up in these new era stats, but my eyes tell me that Bass is pretty good defender. He's also a team guy willing to accept criticism.
Yes, Bass admits he wasn't always receptive to the constructive-yet-coarse criticism from Boston's Big Four. But Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who also has a knack for getting in his ear after mistakes, has tried to stress that players like Garnett are simply offering tough love.
"Listen, if you’re a big and you play on the same team as Kevin Garnett, you’re going to be a better defensive player. You really are," said Rivers. "He’s going to talk you into it. [Bass] had one [error] early in the game [against Golden State], when he missed a rotation, and you could see Kevin, he tells you. You may not like the way he delivers the message, but I think where Brandon has grown, he’s gotten over the MFs and realized what he’s saying is really important. I think that’s a growth in Brandon."
Imagine the culture shock for Bass. He goes from playing alongside the clownish Dwight Howard to the demanding Kevin Garnett.
(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)