Aron Baynes is looking like the only reliable option to start next to Al Horford for the Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have a lot of things to figure out on this roster, and the front court is the most chaotic right now. Thankfully they have the stable figure in Al Horford, because after him there could be a lot going on throughout the whole season.
Nothing will be able to really settle until Marcus Morris gets on the court and shows Brad Stevens what he is capable of, but getting this kind of consistent stability for Aron Baynes early on could make all the difference.
As it stands now, Baynes really is the only big other than Horford that has impressed, and we are at a point where Morris really is the only other big that has any chance to take the starting position from him.
We know Baynes would have an advantage in a traditional sense. The other bigs are smaller and more versatile, meaning Baynes would always have that advantage as a rebounder and interior defender.
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Baynes has proven that he can be trusted in that respect, but he is also showing more on the offensive end than any of these other bigs. He does not stretch the floor to the three point line, but none of these other bigs have established any kind of outside shooting either.
Baynes does not look like a liability on any phase of the game, and the other younger bigs are looking like liabilities most of the time they are trying to do something on offense.
Baynes has separated himself from the rest of the bigs, not just because of the stability he brings and the way he compliments Horford on the defensive end, but also because of the trust on the offensive end.
Baynes always appears to be at the right place at the right time, and he is going to have a lot of easy looks created for him. So far, he is as reliable as expected at the rim, and is starting to look like a real threat in the mid range game, which will drive teams crazy as they crash on Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward in the paint.
The only thing Baynes has not done a great job of so far this preseason is passing, but it is not as if any of these other bigs have proven that they can generate offense as ball handlers.
Of course, there is still plenty of time, and this should have been expected. Baynes was the established player, while these rookies all need time to develop and figure out how they need to play.
The difference is that I’m not sure many expected Baynes to be this reliable in this many areas. I do not think people expected him to look this comfortable with the starters, particularly with how he allows Horford to spend more time on the perimeter, where he can have the most dynamic impact on this roster.
It is quite fortunate that Baynes is getting this separation. The Celtics can handle a second unit front court that is inconsistent. What they could not handle is if that second starting big is a liability, as it was a major issue last season.
The Celtics needed everything that Baynes has been offering, and we know for certain that he is going to be a permanent fixture in the rotation. If we finish the preseason with him being the only big that can be trusted like that, it will not be the end of the world.
The trouble comes later on in the season, because if none of these younger bigs are eventually able to make up this separation, then the long term outlook of the front court is going to be far too bleak to be satisfied with.