There are a few teams that an NBA rookie doesn’t want to start their first serious minutes against and the Charlotte Bobcats are not one of those teams.
Rookie big man Aron Baynes played significant minutes in the San Antonio Spurs' recent win over the Bobcats pumping in 7 points, 1 block and 9 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Not to shabby for a rookie and especially considering Pop has a tendency to not give rookies many minutes.
So to hear San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich say “I thought he did a fine job,” after the win over Charlotte, should be a good sign for the rookie.
Yes, the Spurs were without bigs Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair which allowed Baynes to showcase his skills but the Aussie showed he is willing to do the dirty work on the defensive end which will lead to the getting touches on the offensive end. His attitude on the court showed he is soaking in the Spurs' system quickly.
With continued improvement in the second half, San Antonio could have a nice "twin towers" set up alongside Tiago Splitter or an inside-outside game with Boris Diaw when the second unit is on the floor.
The key to Aron to gaining more minutes, and Popovich’s trust, is to increase his stamina and play smart on the defensive end by keeping out of foul trouble (four fouls versus Charlotte). Something Pop noticed during Baynes' time on the court during the recent win.
"He did a good job. He got a little winded," said Popovich. "He's a very strong and very hard playing young man. It was good to give him some minutes and to get look at him."
Showing potential is the easy part, now Aron has to show that he is capable and willing to sacrifice personal glory for the greater good of the team.
Aron Baynes showed promise against Charlotte. He collected rebounds and showed us a little bit of his athletic ability, but just like "Blair" foul trouble kept him off the court. I think with some time in the D-League he can learn some things, get his stamina up as well as get a better feel of the NBA game.