This is the 9th season preview. After this will be all the dudes who may or may not end up in the rotation regularly this season.
Where he is now:
Entering the 2nd year of his contract and making $6.5 million. He has one more year on the contract but the last year is a player option and he is very likely to opt out. He is fairly firm in his spot as the backup center but should be pushed at least a bit for minutes.
What to generally expect from him:
Play like 15 minutes per night and generally lock down the backup center minutes with Boban perhaps getting the nod on some nights. He should be perfectly adequate at everything he does but nothing more. Just a pretty solid backup.
Baynes is the definition of a finisher on offense. He is has pretty decent touch around the rim and the size to bully his way through people in a crowd, and also has a decent jump shot to go with it. Meaning that he is pretty good at finishing looks that are created by others, however he struggles to create his own offense. If he gets good positioning he can hit a jump hook or two, but is not usually all that useful trying to get his own shot. His biggest letdown on offense is that he has ham for hands and often loses the ball in tight quarters, but he does roll hard to the rim. Lastly he is a wonderful screen setter.
He is at an age where there should not be much expectation of him to make any major improvements but rather just keep on chugging. He occasionally will have games where teams leave him too much space and he will look really good, and there will be games where they play him well and he will look kind of useless. Either way I have pretty much total faith in him to just sort of keep on chugging.
Baynes is the definition of mediocrity on defense. He is a large enough human that he is at least somewhat of a detterance at the hoop, and he can move well enough and plays hard enough to generally be in the right spot at the right time. That said, he still has hands made of salami and has trouble catching rebounds sometimes, he also can't really jump and doesn't have a great wingspan to actually give most guys much trouble at the hoop, and he isn't quick enough to stick with even most 4s. Perhaps his biggest weakness defensively is his 1 on 1 defense against skilled offensive centers. Without fail Greg Monroe, Al Jefferson, Nene, and others put up good numbers against him. That isn't the worst thing in the world because those are all good players, it's just a bit frustrating how totally helpless he often is against them.
Really though, he does ok defensively. For the most part communication with your teammates and being in the right place at the right time to just foul everything is good enough defense for a backup center.
He is clearly a tough dude who wants to play, assuming he plays in the opener it will be the 2nd time he plays through a broken nose. He plays his tail off whenever he is on the floor and I would expect he does the same in practice. Pop also liked him quite a bit so I'm sure that he is a good locker room guy.
This is a unique thing for Baynes but I figure I may as well bring it up. He is the only guy on the roster who would have some amount of trade value that the Pistons could give up without being hurt much, if at all. If he was traded (assuming they didn't get another center back) then a combination of Boban, Ellenson, and Leuer + perhaps some random guy pulled from the D-League could fill out the 14 minutes per night with ease, and the Pistons have been pretty open about the fact that they don't think Baynes will be on the team next year.
That said, I would not be too eager to trade him, he is a useful player and part of some absurd depth that the Pistons have this year. Essentially meaning that I don't think they should trade him just because he won't be around next year anyways, if they can get something good for him then go for it, and certainly listen to any team who makes an offer. But I would not like it if they just traded him for a 2nd round pick just to get something, because the reality is that I think one year of Baynes is probably more useful than a 2nd round pick is likely to be. I believe I have said this before, but my thought is that the team will hold onto him as a bullet in the chamber to fill holes later in the season if they have to. So for instance, if Reggie were to end up missing more time, and they decide that they can roll with Ish as the starter but want someone other than Brown/McCallum as the backup, then Baynes is probably the best chip to use for that. Or maybe there is an injury somewhere else or just poor play (glares at the shooting guards) and they could use the extra depth somewhere other than center.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Opponents are regularly terrified by Baynes' hair.
He just keeps on doing his thing.
A contender's backup center tears his ACL.
Run for the hills if:
Baynes losses his minutes to other players and there isn't much trade market for him.
Greg Monroe and Al Jefferson are in the Pistons division. Both are likely to spend lots of time with the bench mob.
Baynes gets his hands on a rebound only to have it shoot out of them as though covered in butter.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Baynes never loses many minutes at backup center.
He finishes the year with the Pistons.
Announcers make comments on his hair every single night. (opposing announcers.)
What do you think? How will he do this year? Should they trade him?