As Aron Baynes entered Oracle Arena tonight, he was in a very different position to that of this time last year. Instead of walking onto the court as a member of the current NBA champions, he would be lining up against them.
Being a local favorite in San Antonio, Spurs fans were saddened with Baynes off season move, but with the Spurs adding La Marcus Aldridge to their roster during the trade period, his chances of getting some more regular court time took a huge hit. It was no surprise that he would be looking to take the next step in his career in another City.
After adding some exciting talent to their roster last season in the form of Reggie Jackson, then really stepping things up in the second half of the season and catching the league off guard with an impressive winning streak, Motor City is building a gritty team to rival that of their infamous Bad Boys of the late 80’s. Enter Aron Baynes.
With his tough attitude, and having no fear standing up to some of the toughest characters in the league, Baynes was always going to be a great fit for this young Pistons team. Even after some minor surgery during the off season, Baynes has already been stepping into a key role as the back up to Andre Drummond. Meanwhile, Drummond has has got off to a ridiculous start to the season averaging 20.3 points and 20.3 rebounds a night, leading the Pistons to an unexpected hot start to the season.
On making the move to Detroit, Baynes said: “I’m pleasantly surprised with it. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of months there over the summer time, it was really nice, it was pretty warm. I got out an explored the area and tried to make the most of the time that we had there over the summer. I really got out and loved the city, I got up to the lakes as well, I enjoyed my time there.”
After starting 17 games and clocking in for over 1,000 minutes across 71 appearances last season, Baynes has proven himself a reliable big man in the NBA. With his aggressive defensive presence and ferocious shot-blocking, shooters around the league are starting to become more aware of his presence. With his jump shot starting gather more consistency each game, and his pick and role game developing, there’s no doubt that over the next few years Baynes is going to develop into a force to be reckoned with.
When asked about the differences in culture between a veteran San Antonio team and youthful Detroit, Baynes said: “We still have great leadership up top with Stan Van Gundy, there’s a lot of guys on this team with a lot of experience around me too. Then we just have a young team. Some people try to use that as an excuse, We’re not trying to use that as an excuse, we’re trying to use it to our benefit. Our guys can do a lot of good things up and down the court. We’re still learning and trying to make the most of it. It’s always better to learn in victory rather than defeat, but you can learn a little bit more in defeat sometimes I think.”
Already this season we have seen Baynes continue where he left off in San Antonio proving to be a key member of this Pistons outfit, and Stan Van Gundy is already pushing to keep the big man out on the court for more minutes every night. Monday night saw a big challenge thrown out to the big man where not only was he going to be taking on the dominant big men of the Warriors, but he also lined up against his old friend, and Australian Boomers team mate, Andrew Bogut.
“Before the game there’s always a bit of a chat, but getting out and playing against your mate is always fun” said Baynes. On Monday night, however, he held his own, pulling down 4 rebounds and being a key contributor in some strong rallies by Detroit to give the Warriors a push that they probably weren’t expecting.
Before he headed off to the team bus, I asked Aron about his love of Texas style BBQ, and he let me know that you can easily track down a pretty good Aussie style Chicken Parma in Detroit. Not that he’d ever be eating something like during the season though.
Feature Image: AP
Article Image: NBA.com