Aron Baynes came into the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs and spent three years under the tutelage of Greg Popovich and Tim Duncan. No wonder he has become a solid pro basketball player. What a great environment to start his career. But in his five previous years in the League, he had never exceeded 16.0 minutes per game. Until he came to Boston. Now he is averaging a whopping 17.7 MPG.

Here's the argument
. After 29 games, the Celtics have a 23-6 record. When Aron's minutes rise above his average and go to 18 or more, the record is a perfect 12-0. And his average plus/minus is a solid +5.75 for those 12 games. Baynes' minutes have varied from a low of 10 to a high of 27 this season. he is averaging 5.8 points on 49.3% from the field, along with 5.3 rebounds for the year.

Aron still leads the League in Defensive Rating. When he is in the paint, opposing players are frankly afraid to enter. Even his teammates might be a bit timid about getting in there with him. Kyrie Irving's facial injury was a literally-painful example. Baynes never has been a three-point marksman, and he hardly ever attempts one. He is not a major source of points but his free throw shooting is solid at 80.1%, and he hits a high percentage in close.

I anticipate Baynes will get extended minutes tonight against the Denver Nuggets with Al Horford out for rest. If Nikola Jokic returns (ankle injury), Aron will be needed to contain his scoring, rebounding and passing. It may be time to see Baynes' minutes rise to the low-to-mid 20's. It seems to make a positive difference.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Tom Reel/San Antonio Express News

Tom Lane 12/13/2017 11:04:00 AM Edit
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