The start of the Summer League wasn’t ideal for San Antonio Spurs big man Aron Baynes. He had a disappointing first game and needed to bounce back in the following games in order to show the improvement he has made this offseason.
Baynes did just that by averaging 12 points and 10.5 rebounds per game over his 4 games in Las Vegas. His individual post defense on Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, who was touted as the best big man in the Summer League, was better than anyone else who was matched up with him over this week. Baynes effectively established his size inside against other teams’ big men. He was a force on the inside and continually crashed the offensive glass.
People were finally able to see the full array of offensive moves that Baynes has in his arsenal. When given the chance to work in the post, Baynes showed his ability to finish with both right and left hooks.
It’s rare to see a big man who is actually comfortable finishing with either hand, especially when being guarded tightly in the post. Baynes showed his ability to step out and shoot the open 15 footer when given space and also showed his aggressiveness by strongly finishing anything around rim.
His performance may not translate into an actual NBA game, but Baynes has showed progress. If he can crack the rotation, a steady dose of playing time might make him an effective big off the bench. Baynes showed he has the skill to compete once he became comfortable with his time on the court this summer. If he can show the ability to be effective inside with minimal minutes, that will be the key to staying in the rotation.