Title: Raptors roster and cap update: Sizing up Aron Baynes and other weekend deals
Date: November 22, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about a trio of Raptors’ signings after losing their two incumbent centres, and where they go from here.
It was late March 2018 when Aron Baynes first began torching the Toronto Raptors.
Then a member of the Boston Celtics, the bearded, top-ponied New Zealander opened the scoring for his side with an 18-foot jumper. A minute later, he hit from 17 feet. And then from 13 feet. Later in the first quarter, he hit a pair of 3s. He scored 12 points in the first seven-and-a-half minutes in a game the Celtics would eventually win by 11.
Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas – starting alongside each other at the time – either couldn’t or wouldn’t contain Baynes on pick-and-pops or spotting up. The idea of traditionally non-shooting centre types beginning to offer a bit of floor spacing wasn’t exactly new, but the Raptors were still firmly of the belief that you live with those shots. Baynes was a 14.3-percent 3-point shooter that season on low volume and had hit one 3 in his entire career before that game, so the bet made sense. What the outburst signalled, though, was that Baynes personified the evolving role of NBA centres, such that everyone now has to shoot, at least a little bit.