After spending two seasons with the Celtics, center Aron Baynes found himself off-loaded in a trade to the Suns this summer when president of basketball operations Danny Ainge needed to make cap room to sign maximum free agent Kemba Walker.
A 25-game suspension to 2018 No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton has paved the way to a starting slot for Baynes, and he has been having the season of his life thus far, at age 32.
Baynes had never averaged more than 6.6 points, 1.2 three-point attempts, or 18.3 minutes in any of his prior seven NBA seasons. Now, he is averaging 15.6 PPG and shooting 4.3 three-pointers a night at a 46.8% clip, all while playing 23.8 MPG.
Interviewed at a shootaround ahead of tonight’s road tilt against his former team, Baynes discussed his old Boston running mates. His conversation was relayed by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
On the influence of the Celtics brass on his three-point shooting:
“[Celtics coach Brad Stevens] definitely gave me confidence. Danny also says the 3-point line’s there for a reason. Everyone knows that. So it’s kind of one of those things. I was told one day by Brad that if I don’t take the shot, then that’s hurting the team. So, you know, I’ve got to go out there and do what I do in practice. Having that confidence from your coach, it’s a good thing.”
On his trade away from Boston:
“There’s no reason to look back. You know, you can always ask, ‘What if?’ But you’ve got to think about what I get to [do]. So I get to get to come out here and keep playing, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
On keeping tabs on his former teammates:
“You build friendships with guys, and that’s the most fun thing for me to watch is the friends that I have in this league and how they’re still doing well. So that’s what I watch more so than just the teams. It’s always good to keep an eye on your mates.”