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The Celtics may bench Brandon Bass for Jared Sullinger. Quick question: Why?

Oct 13, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Brandon Bass Getty Images

From the Boston Herald:

“I have no comment on that question. No comment,” Bass responded when asked if he cared whether he started. “We have to keep getting better as a team. I think (coach Doc Rivers) will make the best decision for the team.”

Rivers raised eyebrows earlier in the week when he speculated about employing different starting lineups. The variations could send Bass to the bench in favor of rookie power forward Jared Sullinger or free agent center Darko Milicic.

“We may go to a transitional starting lineup, you know, have three different lineups,” Rivers said Wednesday. “We put a lot of thought into it. We just will figure it out.”

via If he’s upset about role, Bass isn’t saying –

Now, I’m a pretty big fan of getting outside the box when it comes to lineups. Take two to three players of near equal value, even if one is a better scorer, and make some changes. Find what works best. Consider chemistry, and play style, and the balance of bench scoring. These are all worthy ideas.

But this is overthinking things.

Look, I get that Sullinger has looked good in preseason and maybe his knack for getting that right-side-righty layup high off the glass over a defender will maintain when he’s given the attention of starting fours. Maybe his natural physical liabilities in rebounding won’t be a problem and his hustle will simply overcome all.

It doesn’t change the fact that Brandon Bass is much, much, much better than Jared Sullinger and in particular, is at his best when Garnett is on the floor.

According to, Bass and Garnett were 9 points better than their opponent per 100 possessions last season. Now, almost everyone was +5 or better with Garnett because he was incredible last season. But Garnett and Bass provided a killer combination for Rajon Rondo. He’d run the pick and pop with one, and the other would spread out for a jumper. The could crash the boards, negating their problems with boxing out over bigger defenders, but that was largely unnecessary, because Bass and KG lead the league in unguarded jumpshot field goal percentage last year according to Synergy Sports.

With Garnett on the court last year, lineups with Bass were +176. When Bass was on the floor and KG sat, they were -18.

A 194 point differential.

I get that the Celtics need a bench scorer, particularly in the frontcourt, but they’ll have Jeff Green (don’t laugh, they believe in him) who can slide to the four if necessary. If they’re playing KG as a five in the starters, they can play Green as a four for stretches with the reserves. And the second unit provides a softer set for Sullinger to thrive in.

It’s not that Darko and Sullinger are bad players… OK, it’s not that Sullinger is a bad player, but it’s that Bass is that much better. He finally found a place in Boston where he felt he was supported and appreciated, and he re-signed with them for less money than he’d make elsewhere on shorter-term deals. The move just doesn’t seem, on surface, to make sense for anyone.

  1. 00maltliquor - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Quick question: why not?

    Bass is real nice, but I’m pretty sure he’s not head over heels better then Sullinger. It may even be the other way around. Sully’s gonna make a lot of teams regret not taking him. The real question is why is Darko in the convo for starting?!

  2. fanz928 - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Brandon bass can’t rebound

  3. drunkenjunk - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    doesn’t matter who starts, Bass will be the one finishing out games.

  4. misterdreamer119 - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Do not diss the serbian gangster bitch. He might murder somebody on the court.

  5. rodge1 - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Not a Celtic fan but Sullinger plays more like a big-man while Bass is more finess

  6. rodge1 - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:06 PM


  7. raidmagic - Oct 13, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    The last thing they want to do is send Bass to the bench. He didn’t handle that well at all when he was in Orlando.

  8. cosanostra71 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:14 PM

  9. jturbo1402003 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Bass is a good solid player. He isnt great by any means & I’m not sayin Jared is but thru camps summer league amd now the begining of preseason Doc & his staff have seen spmething in him they want to use to provide a spark into Boston’s starting lineup. Thats not to say that will be their day one starting lineup just something Doc is considering. Im sure if Brandon os str8 outplayed Sullinger Bass will be getting the start.

  10. michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Because that way they’ll have someone good to bring off the bench. Zing!

  11. passerby23 - Oct 14, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    I’m not sure where Doc Rivers said they were “benching” Bass. He said they were experimenting with lineups and that they will figure it out. Do you really think the entire Celtics coaching staff is that stupid that they would bench Bass if doing so clearly put them at a disadvantage? I guess it’s that these guys are complete morons and will start Sullinger come hell or high water because he’s not as good.

    Or, more accurately, they are trying out lineups to see what works BEST and go with whatever lineup that may be.

  12. e39er - Oct 14, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Relax….it’s only preseason, I’m still not completely convince on Sullinger, right now no defense are geared towards him because the lack of scouting due to the fact that he’s a rookie so he basically has a free run on the offense, Bass I’m concerned will start when the regular season comes around and judging by him so far he actually looks in much better shape than last season.

  13. doublezero74 - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Its not even remotely a big deal. I want balanced scoring when the starters go to the bench

  14. albertmn - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    They always say it isn’t about who starts, but who plays the important minutes (especially at the end of the game).

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