Pregame Post-Ups: Baynes Proving Value with Elite Defense

Monday, Dec. 4 - Bucks at Celtics

Pregame – Baynes Proving Value with Elite Defense

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics have the top-ranked defense in the Eastern Conference this season, surrendering just 97.4 points per game. The addition of Aron Baynes is a big reason why.

The veteran Australian center has provided an elite level of rim protection that the C’s have needed for years. Baynes has played appeared in all 24 games for the Celtics, starting 13 of them, while averaging 11.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. On top of that, he has posted the best individual defensive rating in the entire league, as the Celtics are giving up just 91.2 points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor.

But Baynes has been so much more than just numbers. According to C’s coach Brad Stevens, the 6-foot-10 big man has a phenomenal basketball IQ, which is helping to boost his defensive numbers.

“He’s a great communicator, he understands schemes, he understands coverages and he plays with multiple efforts; it’s a combination of everything,” Boston’s coach said Monday evening before taking on the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. “You don’t get anywhere defensively without the multiple effort part, but the offenses are so good and are so spread out and you change coverages so often within a game, so that other stuff matters. And he’s very good.”

Above all, what has really impressed Stevens has been Baynes’ side-to-side agility.

“The one question that I probably would have asked is, ‘How good is he laterally?’” said Stevens. “Because that’s always a question you ask with guys his size. And everybody that had coached him in the past and that had been around him in the past really talked glowingly about his ability to move side to side, and I would second that.”

Baynes’ lateral quickness and overall elite defense should come in handy tonight for the Celtics when they take on one of the top rim-attackers in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo.

- Taylor C. Snow