Jerryd Bayless gave the Boston Celtics pretty much the same thing he’s given every team that has employed him in his six-year NBA career, and it was just what the Celtics needed.
Bayless was solid and even spectacular in brief spurts this season as a combo guard for the rebuilding Celtics. He almost single-handedly managed to make a mid-March loss to the Dallas Mavericks interesting, and he erupted for 29 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks in late February.
In all, he averaged 10.1 points per game after arriving in a midseason trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. Had he not started the season so cold in Memphis, it could have been the second season in his career in which his scoring average was in double-digits. Then again, had he not started the season so cold, the trade probably would not have happened in the first place.
The journeyman guard therefore performed exactly up to expectations with the Celtics. He served spot duty at both guard positions, both as a starter and off the bench. He was an instant-offense type who shot 39.5 percent on 3-pointers as a Celtic and shot better than 80 percent from the foul line. If that turns out to be his only contribution to Celtics history, Bayless can collect his $3.1 million paycheck and consider it a job well done.
But is there more to be gotten out of Bayless? Despite his nomadic ways — he has played for five teams in six seasons since the Indiana Pacers tabbed him with the 11th overall pick out of Arizona in 2008 — Bayless is still only 25 years old. He showed in stops with Portland, Toronto and Memphis that he can be a capable reserve scorer, and he proved that yet again in Boston. The Celtics are not without questions in their backcourt, with Avery Bradley up for restricted free agency and Rajon Rondo’s status always up for debate.
The market will set Bayless’ value, which may or may not line up with his value relative to the Celtics. Bayless’ skills may be replaceable, but he is not a player a team should kick to the curb without a second thought.