One common refrain that the Toronto Raptors fanbase kept hitting in regards to their disappointing season was the notion that free agent signing Aron Baynes deserved a good chunk of the blame. Brought in after Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka left, Baynes never seemed to get on the right foot.
After a career year with the Phoenix Suns, Baynes averaged 6.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Those numbers came as a starter during the early parts of the season, and his paltry 44% field goal percentage came attempting most of his shots right near the rim, which helped rub the fanbase the wrong way.
Baynes, who will almost certainly not be back in Toronto given how the second year of his contract is non-guaranteed, is spending his offseason trying to help Team Australia in Olympic qualifying. He is hoping that this brings him good luck after what he claims was a very difficult season.
Per the Daily Telegraph, Baynes believed he was misused during his time with the Raptors. He even went so far as to call the season not a “fulfilling” experience.
Maybe…if you averaged more than six points a game while starting, the season might have turned out better? Just a hunch.
“It definitely wasn’t fulfilling,” Baynes said. “I wasn’t able to go out there and have the role that I wanted, but it one of those things where it is the nature of the beast, unfortunately.”
Aron Baynes appeared to lash out at the Toronto Raptors.
Baynes did have a bit of a tough lead-up to this campaign, as he tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the Disney bubble. Playing in Tampa was tough for everyone, and Baynes shouldn’t be excluded from that. However, that doesn’t totally excuse the fact that Baynes was the worst player on the floor for Toronto at times.
Baynes’ claims about not being used properly in the system fall on deaf ears when you look at how he was simply unable to grab rebounds or provide his trademark brand of post defense.
Even if Nurse didn’t build the system around Baynes, playing like neither the solid offensive player we saw in Phoenix or the plus defender from Boston makes criticism of his play justified.
Baynes might have had a tough confluence of circumstances leading up to what could be his only season in Toronto, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he was the most disappointing player on the roster by a wide margin. Hopefully, Baynes can rediscover himself with Australia, because his NBA prospects don’t look great if he keeps struggling like this.