Let’s get one thing clear – I was a Big Baby fan, and I had a really hard time when Danny Ainge shipped Glen Davis to the Orlando Magic. I suppose I got caught up in the hype that was Baby – the way he played the game so hard, the way he battled despite being undersized at his position, the way he seemed to step in and produce when a player like Kevin Garnett went down due to injury. And in the process I ignored all of the negatives – that Baby is undersized at his position, that he is immature, that he is more headache than Doc Rivers cared to deal with.
So when the trade went down I was the first to clam that Ainge had made a mistake. But now, with the lockout-shortened season drawing to a close, I can honestly say that I was wrong. As much as it pains me, I’ll say it. Call it addition by subtraction, but the Celtics are far better off without Baby on the roster. But there’s more. The player they received in return – Brandon Bass – has proven to be a major upgrade to Baby. Bass has come off the bench. Bass has started. In both cases, Bass has impressed. He’s a far better shooter than Baby, as he continues to prove, game-in, game-out. This season Baby is shooting 40.9% from the field. Bass is connecting on 48.1% of his shots – and that’s actually a down year for him. The previous two seasons in Orland, Mr. Bass shot 51.1% and 51.5% from the field. Baby is a career 44.0% shooter.
And then there’s money – Bass is making $4.25 million in Boston, while Baby is making $6.3 million in Orlando. Clearly, Bass’ number will change if Ainge hopes to retain his services next season. And given that Bass is the polar opposite of Baby in temperament, Ainge can’t afford to not have Bass in the Celtics locker room when camp opens in the fall. Bass is key to the rebuilding / transition job underway in Boston, and losing him would put a major crimp in that effort.