As the NBA trade deadline sneaks up on us (it’s the 23rd of this month), remember that Aron Baynes might not be a Detroit Piston much longer. Although Baynes himself has said that he hasn’t thought about this summer, when he can opt out of the final year of his three-year deal he signed during the summer of 2015, Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons have of course already began preparing by gauging interest in Baynes and the roster’s other true backup center, Boban Marjanovic.
As we all know, the preparation started back when Detroit signed Boban prior to this season. As Boban has shown flashes in limited playing time — and rabid Pistons fans have marched on the streets crying for more playing time for Boban (fake news sites like ESPN won’t cover this) — the thought among many is that Van Gundy continues to play Baynes more minutes than Boban because he is trying to raise his Baynes’ trade value. It makes sense, yet, it doesn’t really help the current situation of the team. Boban is a difference maker! Free Bobi!
But let’s not forget that Baynes is also a competent backup center deserving of consistent minutes most games. While Baynes’ numbers this season (4.7 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game) are down from his last season marks (6.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) in essentially the same amount of minutes per game, it’s common knowledge in the NBA that Baynes will see a pretty nice increase in salary (he’s due to make only 6.5 million next season) with whomever he chooses to go home with as he opts out of his Detroit contract after this season.
It also helps that Baynes has been playing a tad better recently. Just looking at this month of February alone, Baynes is shooting more often (and converting pretty often) and rebounding the ball at a consistent rate. Part of this is because the Pistons have been blowing bad teams out this month and in the second half unsurprisingly there’s been big chunks of garbage time.
At any rate, let’s check out some of the good stuff Baynes provides. And let’s hope if he does get dealt by the trade deadline that he goes to another playoff contending team. Thought: wouldn’t it be fun if Baynes and Marjanovic went head-to-head in a playoffs series as backup centers? Although it’s extremely unlikely that Detroit would be direct trade partners with a team they could conceivably face during the first round...(but there’s always the second round)
Baynes rarely makes the outstanding highlight-worthy defensive play, but more times than not he’s where he should be and gets done what needs to be done. Here he stays home and doesn’t try to do too much — and when Okafor gets the ball he usually shoots it. Baynes knows this.
Usually Baynes is in perfect catch and shoot position (jersey wipe):
Baynes occasionally can back smaller players down and use his fine footwork and bulky frame to get quite convertible looks. Sure, Baynes doesn’t always convert — and sometimes just isn’t talented enough to make the most of his chances, but I always thought Detroit could feature him a little more than they normally do. Perhaps a different team will utilize him in a slightly different manner.
Here’s another prime example of Baynes adequately preparing himself (jersey wipe), keeping good spacing and catching the fancy feed from Stanley.
Baynes always goes to the glass with full effort, sometimes with positive results. Here he gets position on Karl-Anthony Towns and then takes advantage with a strong, controlled tip. Basically, effort has never been an issue for Baynes and it will likely stay that way.
Do you all think Baynes will be involved in a trade? If yes, where do you think he gets traded to? Will the Pistons eventually regret trading him? All I know is that in a perfect world with no money, Baynes stays in Detroit! Lobster claws for life! Baynes bro!