NBA 5 Best Bargain Free Agents: Aron Baynes (2 of 5)
This is part two of the 5 Best Bargain Free Agents, part one is here. For part two, we turn our attention to a big that does all of the dirty work. Aron Baynes had some big moments for the Boston Celtics in their incredible playoff run and it was not his first time contributing to a team in the playoffs. Looking at his stat line leaves you very underwhelmed. Baynes provides very little scoring and does not block a great deal of shots. Having said those things, he is the type of player that championship teams need. Baynes’ willingness to do the dirty work by providing solid defense to go along with timely offense make him a player that should have contending teams lining up to sign him. Baynes is entering free agency after finishing a one year contract that paid him 4.3 million dollars. He became a starter for the Celtics for much of the season, but he has never averaged over 20 minutes per game in the regular season.
Offensively, Aron Baynes career high scoring average is 6.6 points per game. He scored in double digits in only 18 of 81 games for the Celtics. He is not the type of player that you run plays for, but he is finding other ways to score. Baynes does well on the offensive glass and has become adept at tipping in offensive rebounds. According to Basketball Reference, almost 40% of Baynes’ shots came at the rim and he finished 56% of those. That number signals that Baynes is not an elite finisher on the level of a DeAndre Jordan, but he can get buckets for you by crashing the offensive glass.
The most encouraging development for Baynes is his incorporation of the three point shot to his offensive skill set. Throughout his career, Baynes was never a three point shooter. In 376 games, Baynes has attempted 28 three pointers. Of those shots, 21 of them happened this season. Bayes only made three of them during the regular season. However, in the playoffs, Baynes took 23 three pointers and made 11 of them. By adding a three point shot to his game, Baynes has made himself an offensive plus for teams. He can hurt teams by positioning himself in the corner and making himself into a safety valve for drivers if the defense collapses into the paint. It also prevents opposing bigs from clogging the paint.
Defensively, Aron Baynes is not an elite defender. As mentioned, he does not get a lot of blocks and he is not a great athlete. The thing that Aron Baynes brings to a defense is effort and consistency. Baynes is a disciplined defender and does not make many mistakes. He was part of the best defense in the NBA this past season and a huge part of that was because of his ability to stick to the team’s gameplan. While not a game changing defensive player, Baynes will not do anything to hurt his team defensively. He is big enough to mix it up with Joel Embiid and quick enough to do a solid job defending pick and rolls.
While Aron Baynes is not a player that can swing a championship, his ability to play solid defense and his new found three point shot make him a free agent that any team in the NBA could use. The reports are that Baynes would love to stay in Boston, but if he does not re-sign there, I am sure there will be teams lined up for his services. If a team comes in with an offer in the 8-10 million range, I don’t think Boston can match. My prediction for Aron Baynes is that he gets offers from other teams, but decides to stay in Boston for around the same salary he had this past season.