Aron Baynes broke onto the scene last season as a serious impact player for the Boston Celtics. The New Zealand born 6’10, 260 pound big man appeared in all but one game for Boston last season, and started 67 matches. At the ripe age of 32 this season, Baynes appears to be leaving the stages of his prime and beginning his regression towards the depths of retirement.
Baynes entered the league at an older than normal age, debuting with the San Antonio Spurs on January 25th, 2013. He was undrafted out of Washington State. After spending three years with the Spurs, he signed with the Detroit Pistons where he spent the next two years. Last season was his first as a Celtic.
After playing so much time last year, the Boston faithful have to wonder if he will provide a similar impact this season. To really give you a good answer, we need to understand why he did so well last year for this team.
What role did Aron Baynes play last season?
It only took five minutes for Gordon Hayward’s season to be over with a busted ankle. When Hayward went down, minutes opened up in the forward positions.
Jayson Tatum ended up playing the small forward position more then originally planned, and he did well. However, Marcus Morris started the first several games at the power forward. Head coach Brad Stevens felt that Morris would be better coming off of the bench and started giving the starting nod to Baynes, who brought a fierce defensive presence to the starting rotation.
Baynes ended up averaging 18 minutes per game and 6 points, while holding a defensive rating of 103. He also helped tremendously with second chance points, as he averaged 1.6 offensive boards per game. He shot 47% from the field for the season and 75% from the free throw line.
Will he see the field like that this season?
Aron Baynes is a great complimentary piece to any team, and could probably start on half of the teams in the Eastern Conference. However, Baynes plays for the Boston Celtics, who have arguably the best roster, from top to bottom, in the NBA right now.
The minutes that Baynes had won’t be there this season. Between Hayward returning (providing he stays healthy), Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Morris, there isn’t a lot of time available. I would imagine that Stevens will move him to Center and play him between Al Horford and rookie big man Robert Williams III.
However, Aron Baynes will still make his presence felt on the court.
Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa