Aron Baynes earning accolades from team after string of strong performances
When Baynes was signed in the offseason, Stan Van Gundy singled out his free-throw shooting and ability to hit a mid-range jumper as two of the main reasons they pursued the bigman in free agency, but it seems his screens have been garnering more love from his teammates. Per the Detroit News' Rod Beard:
"It's no offense to Andre, but Aron Baynes is probably the best screener in the league," Johnson said. "He's really nailing guys. All he asks of us is to wait and I wait and keep my man on my hip.
"When I get the ball and stop and come off the screen, there's a large gap between me and my man."
The Australian bigman's physicality has always been easily apparent, matched only by the amount of energy and effort he brings on the court every time his coach calls his name, and that too, hasn't gone unnoticed.
"Aron Baynes is a professional; he's come from a great team of winners and (since he's come here), I've learned quite a few things from him," Drummond said. "He's been a sparkplug for us and an X-factor when he comes in the game. He brings a lot of energy to the floor."
"In the first half (Against the Utah Jazz), we played nine guys and one guy, Aron Baynes, put out a good effort defensively," Van Gundy said. "The other eight guys put virtually nothing into it -- on anything."
After a few shaky performances early in the season, Baynes seems to have found a rhythm as he starts putting together some very solid games. In the last five games, the Pistons' backup center has put up 9.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and a block in just under 20 minutes of court time, all the while shooting above 60% from the field and 81% from the charity stripe. Baynes has been on fire lately, and if he continues his current form, his 3-year, $19.5 million contract will look like a steal.
Grand Rapids lose another point guard as Ryan Boatright signs in Italy
Detroit's decision to assign Spencer Dinwiddie to the D-League for the rest of the season couldn't have been better timed with the Drive now finding themselves thin at point guard after it was announced that Ryan Boatright would finish his season with Italy's Orlandina (H/T Sportando's Emiliano Carchia). The move comes weeks after the team's primary floor general, Lorenzo Brown, signed the first of two ten-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns. Dinwiddie now find himself as the only point guard on the roster, putting him in a position to put his entire basketball repertoire to work and show off the improvement he has made since joining the team.
Since being assigned with Grand Rapids, Spencer has put together some good games, recording a double double (10 points, 10 assists) against the Iowa Energy, before dropping 25 and 22 points against the Canton Charge and Maine Redclaws respectively. Overall, in eight games played in the D-League so far this season, the Colorado product is averaging 14.4 points 6.0 assists and 2.3 steals per contest, numbers which have all improved since last year. However, shooting remains a problem, as Dinwiddie has so far averaged a shooting slash of .389/.208/.857.
Will playing out the season help Spencer regain his shooting stroke? Will limited competition for minutes improve his performance? Only way to find out is to keep an eye out for Drive games, which you can usually watch live from YouTube or follow through their team page -- or alternatively, you can stay tuned to Detroit Bad Boys, we've got you covered.
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