Last night, while the TDGarden was inexplicably filled with chants of “Ko-be” during the game (Do it before. Do it after. But don’t do it after he hits a nail-in-the-coffin three pointer. Moving on…) I realized something much more important than an aging Kobe Bryant tribute. I remembered that Brandon Bass on the Los Angeles Lakers.
That helped me remember that Bass was a Boston Celtic last year.
That made me start thinking about building a championship winning team.
Why does Brandon Bass stir these ideas? Because he was a player that many Celtics fans thought was a valuable piece to making a playoff run and improving over the next 3-4 years. Don’t get me wrong, Bass was not some untradeable asset in anyone’s mind.
He was a grit-and-grind type guy. He worked hard and was even an Auerbach Award winner, given to the consummate Celtic both on and off the floor.
However, over the course of this season I had not spent one second thinking about Brandon Bass and his absence on this Celtics team. His absence was not felt, not one little bit.
This is important because right now the Celtics are on the cusp of making some noise in an improved Eastern Conference. They are player player away in many people’s minds.
A four game winning streak can help a team move up 3-4 spots in the ranking, but a bad two week stretch could mean losing 3-4 spots and being on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Fans and media have found themselves coming to the defense of some of the players on this team, players they see as major pieces. Pieces that Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge cannot give up on just yet.
Some folks thought Rajon Rondo was one of those guys, too.
Does anyone miss him? He’s back to his old self, handing out assists like Santa at Christmas in Sacramento.
Anyone? Didn’t think so.
Just like Rondo, I don’t miss Bass. Even worse I had forgotten about Bass. Maybe that’s because he’s in the new NBA purgatory: Los Angeles (glorious, isn’t it?).
So fans have to start asking themselves which players would they miss if the Celtics traded them. Which guys would be tough to replace, not in your heart, but in your logical basketball mind?
Would you miss Sully? Would you miss Avery Bradley? Would you miss Isaiah Thomas (I would miss one of those three I just mentioned…).
If you compare Bass and Sully they are very similar statistically. Here are their Per 36 numbers:
Obviously, Bass has been around a lot longer, but the numbers match-up quite nicely.
I’m not going to dive into a “The Celtics should trade Sully” argument because a much deeper dive would be necessary. Just remember this, Brandon Bass was a comparable piece to Jared Sullinger. If you’re like me and you had not thought of Brandon Bass for the last 7 months, maybe it’s time you started thinking differently about what it’s going to take for this Celtics team to make the next leap.
It might involve trading some guys that you have over-valued just because they wear green and dive on the floor for loose balls. You’re just going to have to trust Danny and Brad, because they need to figure out who they need to add to this team and then decide who they need to trade to get the centerpiece of a championship.
Photo Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Sean Melia