WALTHAM - The numbers confirm Brandon Bass as the Celtics’ most active player on offense. Bass leads the team in field goal attempts (78) and offensive rebounds (12) after seven games.
And even though Bass is still learning the Celtics’ system, coach Doc Rivers also considers him an asset on defense.
“He’s already a very good individual defender,’’ Rivers said. “If you told Brandon to just guard his guy, he’s probably our best at that because he can move his feet extremely well and he can switch on smaller players.
“He’ll get it. I’m not that concerned about it - just during the games, of course, because of rotations. But he’ll get that. It’s not a concern.
“It’s just going to take time. Chris [Wilcox] is behind a little bit. A lot of their weak-side helps are late, stuff like that.
“Just trying to get them to understand - you guard your guy and the ball at the same time. They’re still into guarding their guy, especially on the weak side, but they’ll get there.’’
Bass has taken advantage of opponents concentrating on other Celtics.
“I’m grateful to be a part of this group, man,’’ he said. “To play with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, [Rajon] Rondo - ain’t no one worrying about me, man, I’m under the radar and I want it to stay like that.’’
Bass also appreciates the veteran nature of the Celtics, compared with Orlando, his former team.
“Orlando is a young group, you know what I mean?’’ he said. “A good group. But over here, this is a veteran group, a savvy group, and I’m just excited to be a part of it.’’
Allen, who missed Wednesday’s game with flu-like systems, also missed practice yesterday and is questionable for tonight’s game against Indiana.
“Ray is feeling a lot better,’’ Rivers said. “We told him to stay away, we don’t need anyone else getting sick.’’
Asked about Allen’s availability tonight, Rivers said, “I think he’ll play, but I have no idea.’’
Allen, playing with symptoms, scored 27 points in the Celtics’ 100-92 win over Washington Monday, then sat out the 90-71 victory over New Jersey Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Rivers’s attempts to encourage Garnett to produce more offense fell on deaf ears in the New Jersey game. Garnett attempted only seven shots on the way to a 14-point, 12-rebound night.
“Just shoot the ball, more - that’s what, jokingly, I told him, to act like a star,’’ Rivers said. “He does so many things. It’s difficult to tell him because when he does pass the ball, it’s a good decision. We just want him to be more aggressive offensively. And he’s getting there, you can see it. He is so skilled, it’s unbelievable, and also so unselfish, it’s unbelievable. It’s extremely rare, but it’s nice.’’
Rivers on David West, who rejected an offer from the Celtics to sign with Indiana: “I had no problem with it. He had two good decisions: He could look at us as a team trying to win it right now and Indiana in the thick of it and they’re growing. To me it was a win-win situation, a good place to be.’’ The Pacers, Rivers said, are “terrific - they’ll be really good by season’s end. They’re athletic, they’re long, they go eight or nine deep. They’re going to be in the playoffs. We’re just growing and so are they.’’ . . . Mickael Pietrus was set to participate in the team’s noncontact “skeleton’’ drills yesterday. “He’s a great workout guy right now, that’s what we call him,’’ Rivers said. “He looks great, by the way. In a couple days, he’ll be able get out on the floor and do something. If [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] tells me he could play tomorrow, I swear I’d throw him in.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.