Predicting the 2020-2021 Toronto Raptors starting lineup

Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
New Toronto Raptors Center, Aron Baynes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors starting Center – Aron Baynes

It’s odd to see a different name here. After being so close to reaching a conference final, many thought Ibaka and Gasol were coming back without a doubt. Fast forward three months, you have Aron Baynes being the team’s new starting Center — at least the player we expect to be the starter.

I made it clear that the Raptors should go after Aron Baynes on separate occasions. He just had himself a career year on the offensive end with the Suns. Baynes shot the three at a 35.1 percent clip last season. It may be under league average, but if he can get that to even 36 percent it’d be great.

On offense, he’ll be best used as a screener and pick-and-pop option. Two things he has done a lot in Phoenix. He’s also a pretty decent roller which can open up the halfcourt offense a bit more — an area they struggled as they finished 15th in halfcourt offense. Although he won’t be offering the elbow playmaking Gasol offered, Baynes will be really effective in what the Raptors need him to do.

On defense, we already know what he has to offer. His blocking stats may not be shiny, but he is an important rim defender. When on the court last season, opposing teams shoot 4 percent less around the rim, per Cleaning The Glass — which ranks him at the 94th percentile among all bigs.

He is one of the few players who can hold his own against a star player like Embiid, and he’s also shown he is capable of handling switches on to smaller guys. Similar to Marc Gasol, but a lesser version. Baynes is also very vocal on defense, which works perfectly with the help defense scheme Nick Nurse works with.

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With Aron Baynes, the Raptors get an experienced elite center who can fill in quite nicely on both sides of the floor. It was the perfect signing and I fully expect him to get into friendly arguments with Nick Nurse on what they could’ve done differently on defense.