Entering his ninth NBA season, third as a member of the Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass is finding himself in a situation unlike any he's had to face thus far in his career. With a new head coach and loss of the Celtics two biggest leaders, Bass is entering the 2013 season as one of the few veterans on the Celtics roster.
It's not very often that a player with nine years of experience becomes a leader in an NBA locker room, but that is exactly what Bass hopes to become with a locker room filled with youngsters born in the 90's. The third-year Celtic is hoping his experience can translate into becoming a good leader off the court and on the court, specifically on the defensive end of the floor.
"I want to help my teammates," Bass said. "I want to be that guy in the back hollering and telling my teammates the coverages and making it an easier transition for us on the defensive end. Hopefully that leads to good offense.”
On the offensive end, Bass is also finding himself in a different role than he experienced the ;ast two seasons playing next to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, With other offensive weapons next to him, Bass was the beneficiary of double teams on his teammates. He had also found himself being involved in a lot of "pick 'n pops" with guys like Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. This season, Brad Stevens is asking him to be nearer to the basket and work out of the post. This is a change for Bass, but it's a change he's willing to make for his team.
"We have a different team. I might not get those shots like I used to get," Bass told CLNS Radio.
"I think it’s more of my time to help my teammates and make other people better. Over the years, all the guys I’ve played with have made me better. Getting me the ball on pick n’ pops and attracting double teams so that I could be wide open. I think now is my time to help others and make my teammates better.”
So far this season, Bass is doing exactly what head coach Brad Stevens has asked of him. The versatility that Bass has shown being able to produce running the pick 'n pop, as well as scoring with his back to the basket, is something that Stevens has been impressed with thus far during the preseason.
"I’ve really loved his attitude. He’s been great the whole time," Stevens said. "We’re asking him to be more of an inside guy than he’s been in the past couple years. He’s played more pick ‘n pop and we’re asking him to get to the basket and play at the rim."
Bass' quickness as a big man combined with his physical structure has also resulted in some interesting matchups on the defensive end. So far this preseason, he's found himself matched up against big men such as Ike Diogu and swingman such as Iman Shumpert.
“I’m always up for the challenge not matter if it’s guarding a point guard or a center," Bass said. "I’m going to give it maximum effort no matter who I have to guard.”
While the season is still young and roles will change consistently throughout the campaign, Bass is prepared to be the best he can be in whatever role Stevens decides is best for the success of the team.
“Whatever that role may be, I’m willing to be the best me in that role.”