Aron Baynes made his real debut playing extended minutes last night for the San Antonio Spurs against the Charlotte Bobcats.While his stat line may not look too impressive and he left some fans disappointed in the first half with his inconsistent performance, he provided some flashes of what he can bring during the second half and gave some optimism to Spurs fans.
The newly signed Aussie big man wasn't the fastest player on the court nor was he used to pick-and-rolls with the Spurs facilitators just yet, but he showed his strength and awareness on the court with his quick feet and decision making.
He had a strong dunk with 5:38 left in the third quarter, one that signaled that Baynes may not be messed with by an opposing player once he decides to go strong to the rim. That's a characteristic the Spurs haven't had from a player in years.
The most positive attributes Baynes showed flashes of were his defense and his shot blocking.
While he's not the fastest guy on offense, he has some insurance with Tim Duncan or Boris Diaw out close to the perimeter to get back when the Spurs release a shot. On defense, Baynes showed signs of timing and hustle that you can't teach a player in a gym. He had a block on Ramon Sessions that had the crowd on its feet with excitement. The block was a great one and, you could even say, a Spurs type block. There was no flash to it or ego that had Baynes slap it as hard as he could to get attention. He blocked the shot straight up and looked to rebound the loose ball right away, which is again something to credit Baynes' play.
His rebounding was also a welcome sign to the Spurs, a department that's seen them underachieve for years since David Robinson left the team. Aron had a team high 9 rebounds to end the game.
While this was a very good game for Baynes, he knows he still has a long way to go and he knows the perfect role model to learn from.
"There's no one better to learn from. He's been through it all, done it all, and there's nothing he hasn't seen,"said Baynes. "As much as I can learn from him, I'm going to try to use him as a resource. Like I said, there's no one better to learn from."
With a nice "real" debut, Baynes' humbleness and eagerness to learn from the greatest power forward of all time in Tim Duncan is a testament to Baynes' character. The Spurs seem to have hit the jackpot early on with Aron Baynes and if seems to get more comfortable, the Western Conference may have gotten a little bit more interesting in the Spurs' favor.