|Most Improved||Defensive POY||MVP||Sixth Man||Sharpshooter||Unsung Hero||Game of the Year|
|Kelly Olynyk||Brandon Bass||---||---||---||---||---|
It’s awards season at Celtics.com. We’re handing out seven awards over the next few weeks as we roll through this year’s Celtics.com Awards Series. We may not have trophies or acceptance speeches, but we do have some top-flight Celtics performances to outline.
Defensive Player of the Year - Brandon Bass
Brandon Bass has made a name for himself in Boston by putting shots through the basket. What oftentimes goes unnoticed is the fact that he’s also very adept at preventing shots from going through the basket, so much so that he is this season’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Bass earned this award through both tangible and nontangible play at the defensive end of the court. He served as Boston’s most versatile defender and also led the team in blocks with 71.
Brad Stevens quickly learned upon taking over as Boston's head coach that Bass is a power forward who possesses the foot speed and lateral quickness of an NBA wing player. Those abilities, combined with his sheer strength, allow him to defend anyone from Dwight Howard to LeBron James.
Such versatility is rare among NBA big men, but when a player has it, it is a game-changing weapon. Bass’ abilities allowed the Celtics to switch on nearly any pick-and-roll he was involved in at the defensive end of the floor because he is capable of defending a ball handler. The option to have Bass switch on pick-and-rolls alleviated quite a bit of stress on Boston’s defense.
In addition to his pick-and-roll defense, Bass also showed the ability to be a strong individual and help defender. He set new career highs in both blocks (71) and blocked per game (0.87), and both of those numbers led the team. He also served as one of Boston’s primary defenders against many of the most dynamic scorers in the league.
Carmelo Anthony, James and Kevin Love ranked second, third and fourth in the NBA in scoring this season, respectively. Bass spent most of his time defending that trio when the Celtics faced them, and he did a great job of making their lives difficult. Anthony shot just 41.8 percent from the field during four games against Boston, while Love shot a woeful 38.1 percent over two games. James managed to shoot 59.4 percent against the C’s, but Bass made the Heat star work for every point he scored.
Despite spending so much time against elite scorers, Bass still managed to rate out as a very good defender by Synergy Sports. He is one of only four players on Boston’s roster (Jared Sullinger, Kris Humphries and Vitor Faverani being the others) who were so generously rated. Remember, this is a team with guys like Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo, who have been members of the NBA’s All-Defensive Team.
Synergy says that Bass is an excellent defender on spot up shot attempts, which made up 19.5 percent of his defensive possessions. He was also rated out as very good at defending pick-and-roll screeners and good at defending isolation plays.
All of these facts are incredibly impressive when considering who Bass guarded throughout the season. His foot speed, athleticism, size and reaction time allowed him to be a great defender against great offensive players. That’s why he is this year’s Defensive Player of the Year./>