The NBA is kinda boring right now. I know. There isn't much to cover prior to training camp, so instead we'll indulge you with a comprehensive list, ranking the San Antonio Spurs roster from 14-1. Each day we will reveal a new player and that's when we ask you, the dear reader, to chime in. Connect with #SpursRank on Facebook or Twitter or dabble in the comment section below, and prepare to defend your argument. I may or may not attack you verbally. No promises. And without further ado …
#14 – Aron Baynes
Okay, don't show this piece to Baynes, because he'll probably devour me whole before breakfast.
Just hear me out.
Aron Baynes has potential, sure. He's a 7-foot monstrosity, with nimble feet despite his hefty frame. He uses his body well, forming a solid base that should deter most reasonable big men from hanging around the paint longer than a few beats.
But he played in just 20 games all season, and he chipped in fewer than two minutes in a decent share of those games. He's also 26, and that artificially lowers his ceiling.
I'm just advocating patience. He can't replicate Tiago Splitter's pick-and-roll efficacy. He can't knock down a 16-footer with much consistency, or operate as an offensive fulcrum in any context. That's not totally fair to him either, because Baynes isn't a hopeless player. He's just very, very raw. Untapped.
Here's the good part. Baynes blocked 3.1 percent of opponent's shots while he was on the floor last season, second behind Tim Duncan. (Sample size caveat, of course.) Big men don't grow on trees, and rim protection is a valuable commodity, especially when advanced statistics highlight the importance of slashing to the rim, and breaking the foundation of the opposing defense.
Baynes could develop into a decent offensive stop gap that doesn't actively hurt the team on defense. That's not exciting, obviously, but that may be his most realistic trajectory, given the data and video we have.
There is room for growth here, though I don't foresee anything dramatic. Adding Jeff Pendergraph muddles the equation a bit, and until Baynes earns a larger role in Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's rotation, it's premature to rank him any higher.
Please don't eat me, though. Seriously.
Does this ranking make sense, Spurs fans? Or did someone less deserving squeak ahead of Baynes?