2014 Awards Series Unsung Hero: Brandon Bass
|Most Improved||Defensive POY||MVP||Sixth Man||Sharpshooter||Unsung Hero||Game of the Year|
|Kelly Olynyk||Brandon Bass||Jeff Green||Jerryd Bayless||Avery Bradley||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.
Unsung Hero - Brandon Bass
Brandon Bass has been Mr. Reliable for the Celtics since he joined the team prior to the 2011-12 season. He’s been so reliable that his contributions are oftentimes taken for granted, which is why he has been chosen as this year’s Unsung Hero.
Ask NBA fans across the nation who they think of when they hear “2013-14 Boston Celtics” and nearly all of them will answer with names like Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger. Those players all deserve such attention, but Bass does too.
Bass gave the Celtics everything they could have asked for this season at both ends of the court. He was terrific on offense, expanding his game to include post ups, drives and passing in addition to his noteworthy jump shot. As we’ve already detailed earlier in this Awards Series, he played well enough on defense to garner our Defensive Player of the Year award.
This was the top offensive season for Bass since he has been a member of the Celtics. His 11.1 points per game fell short of his previous career high of 12.5 PPG in 2011-12, but don’t let that fact fool you. Bass actually averaged more points per 36 minutes this season (14.5) than he did in 2011-12 (14.2). He also shot 48.6 percent from the field this season compared to a 47.9 percent clip two seasons ago.
If that’s not enough to prove his offensive worth, take a look at this image to the right. See all of that green? That means that Bass shot better than the league average in eight of the 14 shooting areas on the court. You’d be hard pressed to find the last Celtic who could make that claim.
Fans love to watch Bass’ shot splash the net. It’s a thing of beauty. But his dunks? Those are great entertainment as well, and there were plenty of them this season.
Bass was far and away the team leader in dunks this season by throwing down 73 dunks. How crazy is that number? Get this: the next-highest total by any Celtics player was just 45 by Jeff Green. That’s a 62 percent increase from the team’s second-highest total!
Those incredible numbers indicate how aggressive Bass was at the offensive end this season. He would take the jumper if it was there, but he wouldn’t settle for it. He consistently beat his men off of the dribble and flushed the ball through the net.
A borderline career year at the offensive end didn’t prevent Bass from bringing his A-game at the defensive end. Our Defensive Player of the Year article outlined how integral Bass was to Boston’s defense.
To sum it up, Bass was the team’s most versatile defender. His lateral quickness and foot speed, combined with his strength, allowed him to guard big men and small forwards. Those abilities also allowed the Celtics to switch on pick-and-rolls that involved Bass without worry of a drastic mismatch.
Bass was also called upon to defend some of the league’s premier scorers. He was used as one of Boston’s primary defenders against Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kevin Love, who ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, in the NBA in scoring this season. Bass made life difficult on all of them whenever they faced off.
Though Boston did not have a premier shot blocker this season, Bass stood as the team’s best. He blocked a team-best 71 shots, which was 10 more than the second-highest total on the team.