Dwight Howard is now gone from Orlando, but he left his hideous stamp of poor decisions on the Orlando Magic organization when he requested management go out and get Glen Davis from the Celtics.
The Magic’s loss was the Celtics gain. For Yahoo! Sports, I’d hyped Brandon Bass prior to the trade that sent him packing to Beantown, citing his development as a player, but drawing the conclusion that he may still fail to emerge on a Magic team that then rostered not only he but also 2011-12 Most Improved Player of the Year Ryan Anderson.
All Bass needed, I felt, was a chance to break out, a chance at a full time starter’s role, and I didn’t feel that could happen in Orlando.
Then, came the trade. While my immediate post trade reaction dealt primarily with the fantasy basketball implications of Bass arriving in Boston, I did summarize the deal as follows:
I still think Danny Ainge got the best of this deal, fantasy purposes completely set aside here—Bass is a better athlete and offers a lot more upside than Davis, who I think has already peaked as a player. Bass has the potential to some day be maybe as high as an 8th round player, but like I said, he has to make the necessary adjustments, too.
For those of you unfamiliar with fantasy basketball, an 8th round pick in a fantasy draft would put Bass at about the point he did already reach last year, in the 9th round. He finished 107th ranked in the league, right around the likes of Louis Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Jeremy Lin, Marcus Camby, and Gerald Green.
I re-visited the trade in December, concluding that Bass had lived up to and exceeded the expectations put on him by Danny Ainge when he dealt for the LSU product:
Bass is only 6’8″ and barely resembles a center, but a lot of power forwards like he and DeJuan Blair, who are small power forwards playing spot minutes at center, gain center eligibility.
I am digressing, for sure. Bass’ eligibility at center is a great boon, but his value is in his solid rebounding, good percentages and scoring, and his solid shot blocking (I think he can average 1 block per game this year). Bass has yet to attempt a three. He did say he added that to his repertoire, but that doesn’t mean we’ll see it.
All of that aside, we are still looking at a Prize Bass, as I said in the first article…
At that point, weeks before Christmas, it was becoming clear that the C’s had pulled a real heist.
This only further came to its head in the 2012 Playoffs, as Bass performed at a very high level and even showed the ability to play solid defense on league MVP LeBron James in the seven game series loss to the Miami Heat.
Glen Davis had a fair season for himself, too, and really shined in the 2012 Playoffs in his own right, but I don’t think the C’s regret this trade much at all, as they re-signed Bass to a three year deal following his career year and excellent post season play.
Quite simply, there is nothing Davis can do that Bass can’t, and Bass is an athlete so far superior to Davis that there is no point in even rendering comparisons. I expect Bass to only further develop as at 27 years of age he is just entering his prime. He’s already greatly exceeded the expectations put on him coming into the league when he was drafted in the second round (33rd overall) in 2005.
I firmly expect Bass to have an even better year this year, and while Davis remains a valuable player on a now horrible team, Bass is clearly the toast of this trade and it goes down as yet another brilliant move by the still often criticized Ainge.