Compared to past years when Kevin Garnett’s salty vernacular dominated the training camp wavelength Celtics practice has lost its NC-17 rating.

“It’s different I would say that” said Brandon Bass smiling at the civil contrast in Brad Stevens’ practices.

But if this team is going to develop some defensive cohesion Garnett’s communication skills have to be re-created. That’s where Bass’ emergence as a defensive traffic cop last year comes in.
“Brandon Bass helps out a lot on defense and he’s a great defender believe it or not” said the Celtics’ best defender Avery Bradley. “He helps everybody out. He’s the vet with the bigs and he’s been talking them through everything. I feel like we can be a great defensive team if we all talk and help each other out.Brandon will continue to talk to everybody and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

The role has been a surprising fit for Bass normally one of the quieter Celtics. But his defensive growth last season appeared to be tied to his vocal cords.

“I think so” Bass said of whether his speaking up actually fueled the way he defended. “It was more of me fulfilling a role. Last year we had a lot of different options on offense and I wanted to fulfill a role more to the best of my ability and for me that was more defense.”

Garnett’s late-season leg injury and subsequent absence was the catalyst that drew Bass out of his shell.

“That’s the biggest way he rubbed off on me as far as communicating on defense” Bass said. “From Day 1 they expected everyone to communicate and I wanted to be better on defense so I took it upon myself to be more vocal. And then when Kevin went down at the end of the year I just emphasized it a little more to be vocal.

“Playing with a good defensive team and practicing with great defensive players is what did it. You communicate a lot on defense and that brings out positive things. We want to let the guards know we have their backs and so we have to communicate a lot. It makes us a better defensive team as a whole.”