Aron Baynes played for the 2012-13 San Antonio Spurs, a team that nearly won a championship before losing in heartbreaking fashion to LeBron James’ Miami Heat. Waxing nostalgic, Baynes couldn’t help but notice how eerily similar his 2017-18 Boston Celtics team was to his Spurs team back then, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
The teams had two of the brightest minds as coaches in Gregg Popovich and Brad Stevens. The similarities don’t end there. When it comes to depth, both teams went deep in their rotation. The Spurs played nine players averaging at least 15 minutes on the floor, and the Celtics had to go deep into the rotation because of all their injuries.
During their run, Tim Duncan anchored the post and defense, a role which is akin to what Al Horford does for Boston. Furthermore, Kawhi Leonard began to break out that season before making a huge jump and winning NBA Finals MVP the following season. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were terrific young players last season, and they could also use this upcoming season as a platform to show they are now ready and capable of taking over a franchise. What’s even scarier is that both of them can break the ceiling and reach superstar status this year.
And lastly, the 2017-18 Celtics also lost to a LeBron James-led team in seven games. While it wasn’t in the NBA Finals like the 2012-13 Spurs, it was still deep in the playoffs. If the Celtics go on to win it all in 2019 like the Spurs did in 2014, that will make the comparison even more complete, and Baynes will have been a part of both runs.