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January 2, 2018

Aron Baynes

New York, New York

Q. Do you think with the resurgence of the 76ers, especially with the likes of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and the young corps of the Celtics, who are doing big things in the Eastern Conference, basketball fans are likely to experience the 76ers-Celtics rivalry like we saw back in the '80s? Are we likely to see that in a few years?
ARON BAYNES: I do think there's definitely a great young core group on both teams. That's one of those things that's exciting about this game coming up in London is there is so much young talent. We have Jayson [Tatum], who is playing phenomenally. He has had a lot more on his plate than anyone really thought coming into the season. And then Jaylen [Brown] is backing up his rookie year very well. They've added a lot of pieces around here, so there's a great young core here.

And then Philly, they've got Simmons and Embiid, and that's definitely their core. It's going to be for a long time coming into it.

It's one of those things that's going to be hopefully a good rivalry over the next few years. It will be a fun one when we get out there in London, for sure.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about what's your opinion of Ben, seeing that you've had a bit of a look at him now? What makes him different to other players, and how do you feel about him being on the Boomers?
ARON BAYNES: Yeah, well, definitely excited to incorporate Bennie into the Boomers' program. We have that solid core group of guys, but we have a lot of young guys coming through as well. Not only Bennie but there's Jonah [Bolden], and there's a whole list of young guys that are going to be the foundation for the Boomers moving forward. So over the next couple of years trying to integrate those guys into the system is going to be a lot of fun for us. We're looking forward to it because a lot is going to be on their plate when they come into the national team, and we're going to be feeding off what they bring us a lot.

Bennie gives a lot of different teams different looks. He's such a big point guard, and he comes down and he causes some matchup problems. But that's why we're lucky as well, because we're so versatile that we can throw different looks at him defensively, and we don't give him the same look. When he keeps getting that same look throughout the 48 minutes, that's when he really gets comfortable and starts finding a rhythm for himself.

He's looked great over the first half of the season so far. It's one of those things that we're just going to try to give as many different looks as we can and see how that plays out.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about the resiliency of the team and the way you guys have handled the ups and downs of your season, particularly losing Gordon Hayward so early and having guys' roles change. What is it about the group that has handled this so well, and how have you seen that evolve over the season as guys have sort of rolled with all the punches?
ARON BAYNES: Yeah, it's definitely been a big change from the beginning. You can't ever make up for what you lose in Gordon, but it's one of those things where we're getting different things from different guys and everyone is trying to take a little piece of what he brought to the team. We can't really replace what he's going to bring, so we've incorporated a few different things. Some guys have gotten a lot more playing time as well, and that's really been able to progress us along.

You know, the biggest thing is just playing within Brad's system. [Brad Stevens] always puts us in a place to succeed, so when we play within the system, we usually look pretty good. It's when we start doing our own thing that we kind of slow down, and we don't look so good out there. So we're trying to stay within what Brad puts us in, because like I said, he puts us in the right place most of the time.

Q. I would like to ask you about the difference and the similarities you show playing for two of the best franchises in the NBA. You played for the San Antonio Spurs, and now you are playing for the Boston Celtics. They are two teams with a great tradition. What are the similarities and the differences you find out playing for them?
ARON BAYNES: Yeah, one of the biggest things I learned in San Antonio is less is more. Pop [Gregg Popovich] always preached that when we are working, we put everything we've got into it and we do everything at game speed and try and get the most out of it, but when we're not, then you've got to get off your feet and try to recover because we play 82 regular-season games. It's a long grind, and you want to stay as fresh as possible for the game time. You don't want to burn yourself out. It's about playing late into June. That's when every team still wants to be playing, so you can't really go out there and use it all up straightaway.

Coming in here to the Celtics, Coach Stevens is all about getting off the feet as well, but we're also learning while we're off our feet. He really emphasizes us watching a lot of video and film and breaking down games and just trying to learn that way as well. Everyone is trying to be a student of the game here under Coach Stevens. I've been lucky, with both coaches I've gotten more about basketball than I've ever learned. I'm just trying to learn every single time around them and soak up as much as I can.

Q. Just wondering what you and the guys are looking forward to most about coming over here to London? Might be a little bit cold, I guess, when you get over here. Are preparations all going ahead?
ARON BAYNES: I know we're definitely looking forward to it. There's a great following for the NBA over there, and we're excited to get over there. It's a different culture for everyone to learn.

I don't know if it's going to be colder. I think it's negative-17 Celsius here today. It's probably a little bit warmer over there for us. At least we'll go and thaw out a little bit while we're in London, which you don't hear too often.

We're looking forward to getting over there. The game is definitely our No. 1 focus, but also getting out, seeing some of the sights. I know my wife is coming over, and she wants to go to a play in the West End and we'll go to a couple other places.

Being from Australia, we learned about the British history growing up, so it always takes it to another level for us being able to go over there and walk through Piccadilly Circus and see Leicester Square. There's stuff that is pretty awesome for us, seeing Buckingham and Parliament, Big Ben. That's what we grew up learning about, so it's always good to be able to go over there. It'll be my wife's first time in London as well, so she's definitely looking forward to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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