Aron Baynes out tonight with strained hamstring - team needs him back ASAP

The Celtics will be without Aron Baynes once again as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder. Aron is recovering from a strained hamstring. He is only averaging 15.1 minutes per game, but Boston has a 2-1 record with him in the line-up this season.

With the return of Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving and Daniel Theis, Aron's minutes are down from last year's 18.3 MPG. But his stats for those 15 minutes when projected to per-36-minute status show 18.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG and 2.4 APG. But it is on defense that Baynes-ey really shines.

His Defensive Rating is 14th highest for the entire league. His Defensive Win Shares, a measure of how much his defense contributes to wins, is also at #14 in the NBA. And he shoots 40% on field goals, 38% on treys and 80% from the foul line. My point is, what more could you ask of a 15-minutes-per-game guy? He does everything that is asked of him - and more.

Just how important is Baynes to the Celtics cause? At very least, he would have helped tonight against the Thunder. Center Steven Adams is averaging 14.7 PPG, and ranks third in the League in rebounds with 14.3 per game. Another question is who will get Aron's minutes? Rob Williams and Guerschon Yabusele are the two candidates that come to mind.

Baynes is a key cog in the Boston Machine. The team needs him on the floor, particularly against the bigger, stronger centers like Adams. He is a savvy player that almost always makes the right move or play. We need him back very soon.

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Photo via Michael Dwyer/AP Photo