Aron Baynes

Keeping up with the ex-Celtics: How former players are faring on new teams

Keeping up with the ex-Celtics: How former players are faring on new teams

Want a sense of how much talent was on the Boston Celtics' 2018-19 roster?

The Celtics lost five significant contributors from that squad this offseason, all of whom are averaging 14 points per game or more for their new squads.

The guys still left in Boston? They're off to a casual 15-5 start, tied for second in the Eastern Conference as of Thursday.

But what about those guys who skipped town?

At the unofficial quarter mark of the 2019-20 season, we decided now is a good time to check in on the five major contributors from last season's Celtics who left in the offseason -- Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes -- to see how they're adapting to their new homes.

As you'll find, the marks for some players are more complete than others.

Kyrie Irving, Guard, Brooklyn Nets

2019-20 stats (11 games played)
33.8 minutes, 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game; 44.4 field goal percentage, 34.1 3-point percentage

Grade: Incomplete
Irving dazzled offensively out of the gate, dropping 50 points in his Nets debut and averaging 28.5 points through his first 11 games. He's missed Brooklyn's last 10 games with a shoulder injury, though, and watched the Nets go 7-3 in that span without him clogging up the offense. Sound familiar?

Do the Celtics miss him?
The short answer: No. The long answer: Hell no.


Al Horford, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers

2019-20 stats (19 games played)
31.4 minutes, 14.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.1 steals per game; 48.3 field goal percentage, 37.3 3-point percentage

Grade: B
Horford's stats won't blow you away, and there have been growing pains with him and Joel Embiid sharing a frontcourt. But just like he did in Boston, the 33-year-old is giving Philly solid production across the board and is big reason why the Sixers are 15-6.

Do the Celtics miss him?
You bet. Boston's biggest weakness is its frontcourt defense, an area Horford excelled in last season. Among this group of ex-Celtics, Horford is the guy who Brad Stevens and Co. miss the most.


Terry Rozier, Guard, Charlotte Hornets

2019-20 stats (23 games played)
32.5 minutes, 17.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game; 43.5 field goal percentage, 40.3 3-point percentage

Grade: B+
Rozier got the keys to the car he wanted, and he's driving it well so far: He's scoring six more points per game than his previous career high and while shooting at a career-high rate. The Hornets aren't going anywhere, but it's good to see Rozier getting buckets -- and getting paid.

Do the Celtics miss him?
Kinda. Brad Wanamaker and Carsen Edwards are downgrades from Rozier as backup point guards, but "Scary Terry" wasn't going to stay in Boston to play behind Kemba Walker anyway. Barring a Walker injury, the C's will be fine here.


Marcus Morris, Forward, New York Knicks

2019-20 stats (19 games played)
33.1 minutes, 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 0.6 steals per game; 42.4 field goal percentage, 52.4 3-point percentage

Grade: B+
See Rozier, Terry. Morris is scoring at a career-best rate thanks to a ridiculous 52.4 3-point percentage. He's also not doing much else for a team jockeying for a lottery position in the Eastern Conference.

Do the Celtics miss him?
Nope. Morris hit a lot of clutch shots for Boston last season, but he also took a lot of shots, and his absence has allowed Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to flourish with more offensive opportunities.

Aron Baynes, Forward, Phoenix Suns

2019-20 stats (13 games played)
24.0 minutes, 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 0.7 blocks per game; 56.3 field goal percentage, 43.9 3-point percentage

Grade: Incomplete
Baynes might be flirting with B+/A- minus territory had he not suffered a calf injury that sidelined him in seven of Phoenix's last eight games. "All of Australia" had taken his 3-point shooting to another level in the first month of the season to help fuel the Suns' strong start.

Do the Celtics miss him?
Yup. Enes Kanter has been serviceable offensively, but the C's likely will be shopping for big men of Baynes' mold around the NBA trade deadline as they look to bolster their frontcourt.


Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Tommy & Mike have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics gear up for reunion with 'crazy as hell' Aron Baynes in Phoenix

Celtics gear up for reunion with 'crazy as hell' Aron Baynes in Phoenix

No matter how much the Phoenix Suns profess their love for Aron Baynes, this is not how things were supposed to go for him and the franchise. 

He was acquired this summer from the Celtics, along with a first-round pick that was thought to be the gem of the deal. 

But then DeAndre Ayton got suspended 25 games for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, leaving the Suns little choice but to throw Baynes in and see what happens. 

Not only has he produced career highs across the board, but his play has been one of the keys to Phoenix’s faster-than-expected run of success that they hope to continue tonight at the expense of Baynes' former team, the Boston Celtics. 

The Celtics (10-2) comes into tonight’s game having had their 10-game winning streak snapped last night in Sacramento when Marcus Smart’s potential game-winning shot rimmed out as time expired. 

Boston takes on a Phoenix team that’s 7-4 with wins in five of the last seven games, which has the Suns fifth in the Western Conference in this still-young NBA season.  

The Suns have a laundry list of players who have elevated their play, but few stand out quite like Baynes, who arrived in Phoenix via trade after having spent the previous two seasons in Boston.

This season, he’s averaging 15.0 points per game along with 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists while shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from 3-point range in 23.8 minutes — all career highs for the veteran center. 

And in typical Aron Baynes fashion, he still ranks among the best defensive centers in the NBA. 

This season, he has a total of eight charges drawn, which ranks third in the NBA. 

While the Celtics players who saw action with Baynes a year ago miss him, they are happy to see their former teammate doing well in Phoenix. 

“Baynes, that’s my guy,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown told reporters. “He’s crazy as hell but I’m excited to see him; make sure I give him a big hug (tonight).”

When told about Brown’s “crazy as hell” comment prior to tonight’s game, Baynes jokingly told reporters, “That’s the pot calling the kettle black.”

And while Brown acknowledges a good number of Suns players have stepped their game up this season, Baynes’ impact at both ends of the floor has been a pleasant surprise and critical component to their success. 

“No question,” Brown said. “Baynes is selfless; Baynes is playing really well right now. He’s everything that young team needs. So he’s definitely a big reason why they are doing well.”

NBA best bets: Celtics/Suns betting predictions>>>>>

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Suns, which tips off Monday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Warriors' Steph Curry breaks left hand in loss to Suns

Warriors' Steph Curry breaks left hand in loss to Suns

Warriors All-Star guard Steph Curry suffered a broken left hand in Golden State's 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns in San Francisco on Wednesday night.

After the game, the team announced what was widely reported during the game.

The injury occurred when Curry fell after he collided with Suns center Aron Baynes, the former Celtic, who fell on top of Curry when he hit the floor in the third quarter. 

Curry grimaced and clutched his wrist and hand as he left the floor for the locker room.

Curry will have a CT scan to determine if surgery is needed, according to Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area. 

The Warriors are off to a 1-3 start and already lost Curry's backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, before the season began as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in Golden State's loss to Toronto in the NBA Finals last season.

The Boston Celtics visit the Warriors on Nov. 15, but it seems virtually guaranteed they won't see Curry.

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