Trading Glen Davis for Brandon Bass was a brilliant move by Danny Ainge. Bass turned out to be a similar player to Big Baby, undersized at the four, solid mid-range jump shot and surprising ability to finish over bigger defenders. Heck, they both even went to LSU.
The only big difference between these two players is consistency. While Glen Davis struggled to play at the same level every game, Bass was consistent nearly to a fault. Every game you could count on scoring in the low teens and around six rebounds.
At the beginning of the season, Bass would do this all off the bench which always provided a big lift for the team. But a few injuries later, he was inserted into the starting lineup for the remainder of the season.
In the playoffs, he continued to perform consistently. He briefly jumped out of character though for one, big game. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals proved to be one of the biggest wins of the Celtics season, thanks to Bass.
He put the team on his broad shoulders and carried them to victory behind his 27 points on 9-13 shooting that included a third quarter in which he outscored the whole Sixers team with 18 points.
This win put the Celtics in good position to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, which they did.
He ended his season with another big performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, it was not enough.
His consistent and effective play all year long was enough to put the Celtics in the position they were in though—one win away from the NBA Finals.
What he must improve on for next year
There's a lot to like about Bass's game. With his solid mid-range jump-shot he can stretch defenses and provide a good target for Rajon Rondo on the pick and roll.
On the boards, he is good enough, especially for his size. Defensively, he is sufficient as well. He could improve a bit in both rebounding and defense, but to me, there is a more glaring weakness in his game.
He hesitates too much underneath the basket. Not only that, but he brings the ball below his waist and allows the defense to swarm him. Because of this, he, a lot of times, can't finish from close-in.
It's not that he's a bad finisher that keeps him from converting. Rather, it's that he hesitates too much.
This is easy to fix for Bass and if he does fix this, he will be able to score more per game and the whole Celtics offense will benefit.
Expectations for next year
I said that the whole Celtics offense will benefit from Bass fixing his hesitation problem because I am confident that Bass will be back next season.
Granted, nothing is truly certain in terms of the Celtics roster.
If they want to rebuild though—which they do—then they will need to re-sign all of the young talent they can and Bass is exactly that—young talent.
He is just entering his prime now with his best season behind him.
Next season, we should expect more of the same from him. Consistency both scoring the ball and rebounding.
Hopefully, the Celtics will acquire more talent in the frontcourt and allow Bass to return to his true role as a sixth man. If he is able to return to his old role, then he will definitely be in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year.