LAS VEGAS -- Center Aron Baynes has agreed to a one-year, $4.3 million deal with the Boston Celtics, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical. The Celtics used their remaining room exception to sign Baynes and fill out the roster with an experienced big to compliment struggling rookie Ante Zizic.
Although many of Zizic’s troubles during summer league may be due to the fatigue of coming straight off a long European season, the Celtics needed a more reliable big to start next to Al Horford early on. They find that guy in Baynes, who has made a steady career for himself as an intimidator in the post at 6’10”.
Baynes declined his $6.5 million player option this summer to find a make-good deal with a contender and re-enter free agency next season. He gets his chance now on a team hunting for the finals after the Celtics added Gordon Hayward.
The 30-year-old New Zealand native Baynes’ rim protection has been inconsistent over the years, but he was solid for Detroit last year and was perhaps their most effective interior defender on a team that included Andre Drummond. The PIstons had a 98.5 defensive rating with Baynes on the floor while he put up a 57-percent true shooting percentage on the other end.
Among defenders with at least 500 possessions, Baynes ranked 3rd in the NBA at 0.785 points per possesssion allowed, trailing Nikola Mirotic and Draymond Green. The fact that notoriously mediocre defender Mirotic is number one in those rankings makes them questionable the majority of the top 20 are all top-tier defenders. Defenders shot 10.7% below their averages when he was the primary defender inside six feet.
Baynes has a solid 16.2 rebound percentage over his five-year career, but ranked just 68th in the league in the middle of the pack with most backup bigs last season. He will not revolutionize the Celtics’ rebounding, but he is now their best man on the boards.