Welcome to BaynesWatch, a special Defector segment dedicated to the NBA’s most baffling ongoing statistical mystery.
The Toronto Raptors endured a tough offseason in which both of their championship-winning big men departed for Los Angeles. The loss of Marc Gasol to the Lakers and Serge Ibaka to the Clippers was mitigated by the addition of veteran big Aron Baynes. The Aussie is a solid all-around player who shot so well at the start of last season that the Suns almost had to keep Deandre Ayton on the bench. However, that was the old Baynes. The new Baynes is much stranger, and in his 250 minutes as Toronto’s starting center, this season, Baynes has yet to take a single free throw. Very spooky!
Somehow Baynes is not alone. Thunder “big man” Aleksej Pokusevski is two inches taller and half as thick as Baynes, and he too has yet to even reach the charity stripe. Poku is shooting a miserable 25 percent from the field and 19 percent from three, and he has a PER of 3.3. He’s also outplayed Baynes by 10 minutes, making his feat arguably more impressive. It’s probably for the best that he hasn’t been fouled too much, since he is over seven feet tall and under 200 pounds. He might shatter.
Both men have the chance to get on the board tonight, when the Thunder host the Nets and the Raptors host the Kings. Four nations hold their collective breath. Who will make history first?
This has been BaynesWatch.