|Aron Baynes daydreams of his future with the Spurs. (NBA.com)|
On Jan. 23, the San Antonio Spurs signed center Aron Baynes of Union Olimpija from the Slovenian Basketball League. Baynes averaged a near double-double during his time in Europe with just less than 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, and in a two-game assignment to the Spurs' D-League affiliate Austin Toros, he averaged 18 ppg and nine rpg while playing 27.5 minutes each night. He brings good size to the Spurs, standing at 6’10’’ and 260 pounds. He looks like an NBA center and has a traditional post game, rather than that of someone who will stretch the defense. While we don’t know much about Baynes to this point as an NBA center, the early returns suggest he could have a nice future in the league. Since being signed by the Spurs, Baynes is averaging more than four rebounds and three points per game in under 10 minutes per contest. It’s a small sample, but one corroborated by Baynes' 7.5 ppg, 3.3 rbg performance with the Australian national team in last summer's Olympics. His production in limited action is promising and another indication that the Spurs have yet again hit on an international signing.
Few franchises, if any, have been better than the Spurs at bringing in foreign talent. The list of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, Nando De Colo and now Aron Baynes is an impressive grouping with production and stardom at the top and potential and promise on the bottom. Parker has been one of the best point guards in the league for the last decade. Ginobili has been incredibly effective both off the bench and as a starter. Both have averaged double-digit points every year since their rookie seasons; both have the ability to create for their teammates consistently while being able to can create their own shots; and both are great leaders for the Spurs franchise. Oh, and by the way, they both have championship rings.
When you look at the rest of the list, Splitter is certainly the most proven player so far. He can score and rebound well, while providing great height, coming in at 6’11’’. He also shoots incredibly well from the floor, hitting at 59 percent for his young career. While we don’t know much about either De Colo or Baynes to this point, both of them averaged double-digit points during their time in Europe and bring good size for their respective positions. While both have limited experience at the NBA level, the Spurs have had such a great track record of signing and developing talent from overseas that you can’t help but think they will become at least solid NBA players who will have long and healthy careers. It will be interesting to see how these players develop and who the next player the Spurs bring in from across the pond.
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