Monday, March 31, 2014

Celtics Morning Joe: Where Brad Stevens digs Jerryed Bayless

Bayless continues to win fans over, and his coach over. Bayless was a good deal when you looked at Jerryed as an expiring deal in the Courtney Lee trade. Lee still had another year past this season, and the Celtics would be saving over 5 million next year because of the deal. Bayless had another solid game after he scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting over 28 minutes on Sunday.

Mass Live: Jay King

“I think obviously, you don’t know how all the numbers are going to work themselves out, and all the different people. But he’s a good guy to have on your team,” the Celtics head coach said before falling 107-102 to Chicago. “He’s bright. He thinks about the game on both ends of the floor. He’s physical. And he can score the ball in a flurry.”

Bayless occasionally attempts frustrating shots (often, they are off-the-dribble pull-ups, which he normally executes while going to his right and fading away from the basket), but his propensity for bunch-scoring has brought the Celtics back into quite a few games. He’s still operating with below-average efficiency, but he’s shooting much better in Boston (51.0 percent true shooting) than he did in Memphis (47.3 percent); since the beginning of February (an arbitrary date, but still), he’s converting on 42.5 percent of his 3-point tries. Stevens likes the guard’s versatility, too. Bayless is not a pure point guard, but he’s capable of manning either backcourt position.

“It’s kind of like a switch-hitter. Usually they hit better from one side than the other. But I do think that Jerryd has done a good job at both positions. His ability to score the ball – whether he is playing the 1 or the 2 – is one of his greatest strengths,” Stevens said. “A lot of what he’s been able to do for us at the 1 is score for us at the 1. So he’s done a good job. And the other night he really got it going, and we kind of rode him all the way to the end. I think two of our last four or five games, the one in Dallas and then the one at Toronto, he kind of got going and gave us a chance.”

So how has Bayless played in the month of March? In 14 games in March, Bayless is averaging 10.4 points over 27.1 minutes per game. How about his averages since being traded. In 35 total appearances for Boston, Bayless is averaging 9.7 points, 3.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1 steal over 24.7 minutes per contest.

He's expressed that he wants to stay in Boston. But sometimes that means nothing to Ainge. I think Bayless is a guy that you want on a contender, and if Ainge builds this team over the summer to contend. Then Bayless is a must on this roster.

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