Aron Baynes / 28 Years Old / Unrestricted Free Agent this summer (signed one-year, $2.1 million contract last summer)/ Undrafted in 2009 / 7-feet tall with shoes / 259 pounds / 7-foot-2 wingspan / Agent: Marc Fleisher
- Born in New Zealand but plays for the Australian national team.
- First started playing basketball as a late teenager.
- Spurs are 13-0 this season when Baynes plays 18+ minutes coming off the bench.
- Strong in the post… dexterity with both hands:
- Baynes is shooting 15-for-30 on offensive post-ups. He’s set up in the post 39 times but has passed out 24% of those time… he’s not inclined to force shots.
- Basketball intelligence… Baynes has learned how to position himself on the court to his team’s best advantage. Watch as he coordinates the high-low action with Duncan and makes a deft entry-feed on the play:
Fearless with his size… watch as Baynes challenges Rudy Gobert with his brute strength in the play below:
- Baynes loves to lurk underneath the rim… He has above-average hands to catch tough passes and he’s comfortable with awkward angles under the hoop:
Strong rebounder, especially on offense:
- In spite of San Antonio’s overall willingness to ignore the offensive glass, Baynes still boards 11% of all available offensive rebounds while on the court (top-40 in NBA). He grabs 21% of all available defensive rebounds… on par with Marc Gasol and Timofey Mozgov.
Efficient roll-man in P&R: averaging 1.08 points per possession on 57 FGA as roll-man (74th percentile.)
BAYNES’ SHOOTING BREAKDOWN:
– Notice how Baynes is more aggressive on the road with FGA… that’s a positive attribute, especially because his efficiency improves with more attempts.
- Baynes demonstrates a surprisingly soft touch from the midrange — shooting 45.8% on Catch-and-Shoot situations (22-for-48).
Coach Popovich:“When you look at him, you think he should be playing rugby. He doesn’t look like a basketball player and everything he does is relatively mechanical. But on closer inspection, he makes short-range jumpers, he’s got a nice jump hook with both hands, he’s got really good feet for a big guy and he’s learning how to play the game and he’s getting more confident with minutes.”
Baynes uses his size and length well as a defender… He ranks as one of the league’s best rim protectors, second to only Tim Duncan in the Spurs’ rim protection analytics (click to enlarge chart):
Good P&R defender: in 23 possessions defending the roll-man in the pick-and-roll, Baynes has held opponents to a 31.6 FG% and has forced four turnovers.
Strong in the post defensively… Baynes ranks in the top-15 in NBA for opponents FG% in post-up situations. (minimum 65 FGA Against)
WHAT IT ALL MEANS:
– When Baynes is on the court, San Antonio’s offense take a slight hit per 100 possessions. However, on defense, Baynes’ presence gives San Antonio a slight boost per 100 possessions. Remember, Baynes is often replacing Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter in the rotation, meaning his offense/defense efficiency tradeoffs are on par with two of the better big men in the NBA.
AREAS TO IMPROVE:
- Baynes has only converted 20 of his 41 put-back attempts this season. In other words, he’s wasting opportunities for new possessions by hastily trying to tip the ball in. He should come down with the ball strong and try to reset the play more often.
- Baynes averages one turnover per game and it usually comes in the form of a moving screen. He’s such a big body that teammates are inclined to take his screens for granted. He needs to slow down and keep himself set, even if his teammates jump the pick early.
TEAMMATES’ QUICK TAKES:
Cory Joseph:“As everybody knows by the way he plays, he’s a hard worker. Outside of the game he’s always working on his game. He’s got a lot of moves and he’s very skilled. He’s got a good touch with both hands. He’s displayed this year that he can shoot the midrange jumper. He actually has a good outside shot too but obviously for us he doesn’t get to show that cause we’ve got so many outside shooters. Everybody knows he’s a bruiser cause he sets great picks. He’s one of the best screen setters in the league and he uses that to his advantage.”
Patty Mills: “He is a bruiser and that used to be all that he was. But he’s been able to work on his game, work on his touch. He’s practiced shooting the ball so much that now he’s shooting it a lot better. So it’s that the hard work has paid off to give him that skill set and improve in San Antonio.”
Kyle Anderson: “I’ve seen him make a lot of progress just through this season. As an outsider just watching him last season in the playoffs, he did look like just a bruiser. This year, he’s expanded his game a little bit to knock down 15-footers. He’s a great rebounder and he’s a great defender but his offense has made a lot of improvements.”
FREE AGENCY OUTLOOK:
- Baynes struggled to find a multi-year contract last summer and strongly considered returning to Europe to play on a more lucrative salary. This summer, a team should invest significant dollars to pry him away from San Antonio. Based on career-modeling projections for similar players, Baynes is worth at least $6 million annually in even the most conservative estimates (under current salary cap figure.)