In July, the Lakers added veteran Brandon Bass in free agency. Now in his 11th season, the 30-year-old hopes to help as both a player and a mentor.
“That’s one way to be a mentor, by holding yourself accountable and having a routine, a routine that has worked for the last 10 years” said Bass. "I feel like the best version of you is going to help someone else.”
The Lakers hope Bass will be a positive influence on second-year forward Julius Randle, a potential cornerstone piece for the future.
Bass learned early in his career with the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) by watching teammates like David West and Chris Paul.
“In the NBA, I think I developed the pick and pop watching David West his first year,” said Bass. “He and Chris Paul, their pick and pop was amazing.”
“When you look around the league and you see the greats, you have to find something in that player that you can take with you,” he continued. “That’s kind of what I want to be [for the Lakers’ younger players].”
Bass has also played with the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics.
“For me it was, my first few years in New Orleans, it was the older guys that I played with that taught me how to work hard,” said Bass. “When I got to Dallas, watching Dirk Nowitzki and his detailed approach and how hard he works.
“When I got to Boston, it was [Kevin Garnett] and his routine and the things he did every day, not matter what. Those experiences, you can’t pay for.”
Bass also played alongside former Laker Dwight Howard in Orlando, but didn’t mention the center when listing his influences.
He also played for Coach Byron Scott in New Orleans.
“Coach Scott was someone who inspired me to continue to work hard, to be the player I am today,” said Bass. “My first two years I didn’t play much, so he was very motivating to me, letting me know how hard I have to work to be a pro.”
Over his career, Bass has averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 49.3% from the field. He doesn’t shoot the three-ball, or rack up steals and blocks, but he can hit his free throws (82.8% career).
Bass is a role player -- it remains to be seen exactly how Scott chooses to use him on the Lakers, be it as starter or reserve.
“My whole thing is to thrive and help this team, whatever that is, I just want to thrive and help the team,” said Bass.
He’s also relatively soft spoken.
“Sometimes I can be vocal as well but I want to lead by example,” he said. “The crazy thing is, I didn’t have long, drawn-out talks with [my mentors]. It was all from me just observing. ... When I had questions, I went up to them and asked them.”
The Lakers need Randle to develop into an impact player. Bass is on the roster, along with Metta World Peace, to help that along.
Bass can still contribute on the floor, but if he can help teach Randle how to work like a successful 10-year veteran in the league, he’s well worth his $3-million salary for the coming season.