Name: Brandon Bass
Key Stats: 5.6/2.5/0.4 (points/rebounds/assists) on 57.5/87.5 shooting in 11.1 minutes per game, 52 games played
Years in NBA: 12
2016-2017 Salary: $1,551,659- veteran minimum
Future Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent
Summary: Like the three previous players on this list, Bass had a disappointing season for the Clippers. The year before he was a solid rotation players on the Lakers, and the four years before that he had been a starter for quite good Celtics’ teams. While a little past his prime, there was an expectation that Bass could be a strong bench piece for the Clippers, and even step into the starting lineup in case of injury. That wasn’t what happened. Instead, Bass played only sporadically at the start of the season when the Clippers were whole, stepping into the rotation only after Blake Griffin was out with injury. Similarly, at the end of the season, when Blake had returned, Bass was once again reduced to garbage time minutes.
During that middle part of the season, Bass had his moments. He scored in double figures a handful of times, and shot the ball at a highly efficient clip all year. There was a brief stretch where he seemed to have at least one thunderous dunk a game, oftentimes two. Bass provided energy when he played—he’s a hustle player who dives on the floor for loose balls and attacks the glass. The problem was that Bass didn’t offer much in the way of rim protection at center, nor could he provide the spacing that made Mo Speights so valuable at times. That left him on the pine in key situations, and he rarely played more than 20 minutes in a game.
Meanwhile, Bass played a mere four minutes in the playoffs. This with Griffin out for over half the series. Doc’s lack of faith in Bass showed strong and clear in the most important games of the year. It was a long way from the summer, when Bass was thought to be a perfect 3rd big man to backup both Blake and DeAndre Jordan. Paul Pierce played over Bass in the playoffs. Paul Pierce!! Now, the weight of that absurd situation isn’t on Bass, it’s on Doc Rivers. While Bass wasn’t very impressive most of the year, he was still a legit NBA player. Pierce was not, and he shouldn’t have been playing over him. In fact, Bass probably should have received more minutes all year. He wasn’t a great option, but he was better than some of the alternatives.
Strengths: Bass is a rotation level NBA player. He knows where to be on the court, and doesn’t have any huge weaknesses in his game. Brandon is an effective roll man on the pick and roll, and his midrange jumper is quite smooth. He is able to get free rather frequently in the 10 to 15 foot range, the issue being that those are some of the least efficient shots in basketball. On defense, he has enough size and athleticism to be at least somewhat of a deterrent around the basket, and enough quickness to not be embarrassingly blown by smaller players all the time. All in all, he can provide fine minutes for an NBA team.
Weaknesses: Bass is neither a floor stretcher nor a true rim protector. In the modern NBA, it’s tough to play a big man who doesn’t fulfill either of those traits for extended minutes unless they bring many other strong tools to the table. Bass does not. He’s not a particularly gifted defender out on the perimeter, nor does he have much of a post game to speak of. Therefore, he can’t really punish smaller players on one end, and can be taken advantage of by them on the other. Bass is a jack of several trades while being a master of none, and that just wasn’t enough for team to provide a significant return for this Clippers team. He might be more effective in a different situation, but it’s impossible to know until it happens. Bass is 32 now, and big men often age quickly. If his athleticism continues to drain, Bass’s NBA career could be ending sooner rather than later.
Future with Clippers: Bass is an unrestricted free agent, and I doubt he comes back to the Clippers. There won’t be much of an opportunity for playing time as long as Jordan and Griffin are on the Clips, and the Clippers’ chances of a championship appear to be dwindling by the year. I think Bass still has a couple useful NBA seasons left in him, but they won’t be for the Clippers.