Celtics coach Stevens hails presence of Aussie Baynes

By AAP,

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    Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens has hailed the performances of Boomers centre Aron Baynes following his side’s outstanding start to the NBA season.

    The Celtics sit atop of the Eastern Division with 33 wins to their name and the well-travelled Baynes has been crucial to their success in his first season with the team.

    The 31-year-old Queenslander, arrived in Boston from Detroit last year having been part of a championship-winning San Antonio side alongside fellow Australian Patty Mills in 2014.

    Baynes has enjoyed spells playing in Lithuania, Greece, Germany and Slovenia after being undrafted from Washington State in 2009 and played bit parts with the Spurs and the Pistons before landing in Boston.

    But under Stevens Baynes been a regular starter and the 41-year-old coach described him as a “revelation”.

    “He’s been awesome, he’s a great defender at his position,” Stevens told AAP in London ahead of Thursday’s NBA clash with Philadelphia.

    “He moves his feet exceptionally well and is making the mid-range shots for us.

    “He’s been a constant source of energy around the team and is a great team man.

    “I don’t think you can anticipate any player when you sign them to be that consistent in his play and the way he affects the happiness around him.

    “He is a giver to people and that is what I love about him. He brings a lot of energy to the locker room.”

    The 208cm Baynes has been nicknamed “All of Australia” by the local media and is loving life in a city where he’s finally getting the chance to be a regular starter.

    His giant frame and strong defensive skills have helped lay the platform for Melbourne-born star point guard Kyrie Irving to flourish and Baynes is revelling in being part of the NBA’s most successful franchise.

    “The Celtics has the most history of any team so it is a lot of fun,” Baynes told AAP.

    “The people of Boston are sports-crazy. It’s so much fun going out there and playing in front of that crowd.

    “I am enjoying the role I have and doing my job as best as I can.

    “I am so thankful for the role that Brad has given me and loving the opportunity to play in Boston.”

    Baynes will face off against Boomers teammate Ben Simmons at the O2 Arena on Thursday and believes the 21-year-old would be a worthy rookie of the year winner.

    “I’ve obviously played a lot with him and against him so I am not surprised at how well he’s performed in his rookie season,” he said.

    “It will be good to see him and catch up, but when the game starts we’ll be doing everything we can to throw a few things at him.”

    © AAP 2018

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