According to Monty Williams at today’s Suns practice, Aron Baynes is very likely to return to the Suns lineup on Monday, December 9.
Baynes has missed 9 of the Suns last 10 games, during which time the Suns have had one of the league’s worst defenses (23rd out of 30) after sporting a respectable defense (12th) to open the season with Baynes available.
He missed five games with a strained right hip, returned for one game, then missed the next four with a strained left calf.
Looks like he will return on Monday night, but with a little more restraint in the minutes he plays.
More Williams on Baynes: “I have to do a better job of easing him back into it. I gotta be his brains, so to speak...it’s not (that he played) too many minutes, it’s just how he plays with his minutes. Aron, he goes. He’s not gonna go in second gear.” #Suns— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) December 8, 2019
Baynes, 33 years old now, has always played fewer than 20 minutes a night — even when he started most of the season for Boston two seasons ago. This year, Baynes has played almost 25 minutes a night since Deandre Ayton was suspended for 25 games. Ayton is expected to return to the lineup on December 17 — just four more games to go.
In Baynes’ (and Ayton’s) absence, the Suns have been stuck with Frank Kaminsky starting against the league’s best centers, with Dario Saric and Cheick Diallo his rotational backups.
Unfortunately for the Suns, Frank is a major downgrade at center.
It was Baynes interior defense — especially against opposing starters — that controlled opponent scoring. Cheick Diallo has been effective in limited time, but he has not spent much time against opponents’ best players.
Let’s just be excited that Baynes is coming back.
With Baynes as the starter, even only playing half the game, the Suns gave up 105 points per 100 possessions (roughly a full game). Without him, the Suns are surrendering 10 more points, flipping their positive net rating upside down.