The San Antonio Spurs watched an NBA Championship slip through their hands almost a month ago, but they aren’t looking to dwell on that. They are looking to re-vamp this off-season and get back to the same position that they were in at the end of June and try and close the deal this time.
The Spurs have made some solid additions in re-signings in free agency, adding Marco Belinelli and Jeff Pendergraph and re-signing Tiago Splitter, Manu Ginobili and could still possibly re-sign Gary Neal.
However, that’s not the only way the Spurs are looking to improve their roster. They are also looking for their young guys to show them something at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League and then the Spurs will go from there.
One player who has surprisingly stood out at Summer League is power forward/center Aron Baynes. Baynes appeared in four of the Spurs’ five games in Vegas and looked quite solid. While playing 26.3 minutes per game, he averaged 12 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 46.8 percent shooting. His activity on the boards was impressive and he showed a solid ability to finish at the rim, though there was still somewhat of a lack of skill when he had the ball in the post.
The 26-year-old New Zealand native played his first NBA season last year with the Spurs, though he didn’t see the floor very often. In just 16 games played, he saw just 8.8 minutes per game of playing time and averaged only 2.7 points, two rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game on 50 percent shooting.
Baynes also spent time in the D-League last season, playing seven games with the Austin Toros. In 27.1 minutes per game, he averaged 13 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor.
Given his age and the fact that he doesn’t have other-world type talent, Baynes isn’t going to be a breakout star next season or anything. However, with DeJuan Blair likely out of San Antonio and Tim Duncan only getting older, there are rotation minutes to be had in the post for the Spurs. Baynes will have the chance to compete with Pendergraph and the unpredictable Boris Diaw for reserve minutes. If Summer League is any indication, though, Baynes will be in the running to earn some more minutes next season.