Has the world gone mad?
A simple visit to the supermarket has become a battle for toilet paper supremacy, with desperate shoppers scrapping for the last pack — or sometimes, the last five or six packs — of white, fluffy gold.
It’s chaotic, it’s grotesque, it’s inexplicable … and yet it pales in comparison to the NBA’s decision to anoint LeBron James as the Western Conference Player of the Week over Aron Baynes.
In Week 20, LeBron LeBron’d as only he could, averaging 29.0 points per game to go with 7.3 rebounds and a sizzling 10.3 assists en route to a 3-0 record.
Impressive? Sure. Historic? Hardly.
The much less ballyhooed Baynes emerged like a phoenix for the Suns (yes I’m aware of how terrible that was, let’s just move on), tallying 30.5 points per game, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, while shooting 13-25 from deep (50.35%) and gifting his team with 2 incredible victories.
One of those wins was over the Milwaukee Bucks, the presumptive favourite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this season, where Baynes toughed it out for 33 minutes of service, adding 24 points, 7 rebounds and 1 highly important assist.
The other, of course, was as the key factor behind Phoenix’s frantic triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers. In that game, Baynes played like a man possessed, scoring 37 points, an eye-popping 16 rebounds and yet another very significant assist. Yet in his haul he also drained a remarkable 9 three-pointers on 14 attempts. That's just incredible for a big man who had never been a perimeter threat until his evolution with the Celtics.
It was the highest score ever achieved by an Australian in the NBA, surpassing such luminaries as Patty Mills, Ben Simmons and Joe Ingles. Baynes joined James Harden as the second NBA player to ever manage 30+ points, 15+ rebounds and 8+ 3-point shots in a game. Incredible.
This scintillating performance could be the turning point Phoenix has been waiting for, as we anoint a new hope for the future of Aussie hoops.
And yet, he was relegated to the shadows. Denied of his achievement by the tiresome narrative that is the Lakers super team; a roster so stacked, Smush Parker could come out of retirement and average a triple double.
Never fear, though, because despite the lacking fanfare that this lionhearted warrior has received on the international scene, we here at the Pick and Roll have got his back every step of the way.
The Baynes train’s stopping all stations, and the final destination is the Larry O’Brien trophy… or the 10th seed in the West. Whichever you prefer, really.