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If rival teams still think that Aron Baynes reluctance to shoot from beyond the arc is a weakness to be exploited, they many have to reassess the thought.

In his travels to and from various NBA teams, Aron has always been a role player. A big, strong guy that can defend, rebound and act as enforcer if needed. He still may be a role player with Boston, but I can't envision the team without him.

He certainly moves better than one would expect from a player of his size, even capable of guarding smaller opponents on the perimeter. He is tough to move under the hoop, rebounds very effectively and can hit the short jumper. But 3-pointers? I never expected this.

But Brad Stevens did, apparently. Brad despises mismatches, and if opposing centers decide to leave Baynes alone on the perimeter, that makes it a 5-on-4 against the Celtics when they are on offense. That may not be happening with any frequency going forward.


Aron has been practicing his 3-point shot, and he is making them in the playoffs. Here is the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach on Aron's progress:

Entering the postseason, Baynes had made just 4 of 28 3-pointers (14.3 percent) over a total of 402 regular-season and playoff games. But in the first 10 games of these playoffs, he is 6 for 11 from beyond the arc.

His 3-point shooting percentage of 54.5 is the highest individual mark of anyone on the eight remaining playoff teams who has taken at least five threes, a group that includes Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, and J.J. Redick. Yes, they fire them at a much higher rate and under more dangerous circumstances, but any time players like that trail a player like Baynes in a 3-point shooting category, it is significant.

Baynes 54.5% on three-pointers in the playoffs is a great sign. In this series against Philadelphia, Joel Embiid may not be so inclined to leave Aron alone at the arc to clog the middle and block Celtics' shots. Watch for that tonight in Game Four at Philadelphia.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports


Tom Lane 5/07/2018 07:28:00 AM Edit
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