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Vocal and demanding: Baynes stamping his impact on Bullets

If you weren't at a vantage point to see it, you could most certainly hear it.

The Darwin Basketball Stadium was buzzing for Aron Baynes' return to the floor, but it was his voice on and off the court that was arguably the greatest takeaway.

Teammates, the opposition, and the officials all heard from the Boomers legend, with the 35-year-old bellowing instructions throughout the Brisbane Bullets NBL Blitz opener against New Zealand.

Any idea that a highly-anticipated return to the floor would bring hesitation for Baynes was quickly eviscerated, with the NBA champion's presence in the building immense from opening tip.

"I know I'm very demanding of players around me but that's what we need, that's what I need from them," Baynes told ESPN.

"They need to get into me as well, that's the only way we're going to get better and improve, that's the only way we're going to get to where we want to as a group. I'm trying to push them, but I tell them it's from a place of love and I just want to see them get better."

Bullets head coach James Duncan was unable to hide his delight with the impact Baynes has had had since announcing his return to the basketball, with his hard-nosed style exactly what he wanted entering his second year on the sideline.

"Baynes comes in, raises the level, puts pressure on everybody to continue to do the right thing, continue to do the extras from the weight room to taking care of your body," Duncan explained to ESPN.

"All those things make a difference throughout the course of the season. It doesn't guarantee us wins but it guarantees that this is how we want to play, this is how we want to be as an organisation.

"He's demanding, he's always vocal, he's always communicating. He never stops talking if he's on the court, if he's off the court on the bench, he's pulling guys in and wants to make sure that we're about the right things. If you've ever met him, you'd know he's a no-nonsense guy."

Naturally, the buzz surrounding Baynes' return to basketball circles back to the NBA, but if you believe he hasn't entirely bought into Brisbane's success, you simply haven't been paying attention throughout his lengthy career in the topflight.

"Mate, I'm a kid in a candy store. I'm thankful to be out there running around. If I look back and I haven't enjoyed every second I'm out there, then what am I doing?

"Yes, selfishly I want to get back to the NBA, I think anyone playing professional basketball, you have to aim the highest and want to play against the best, so for me that is one of my goals but it's more than just about what I do on the court. I'm living it, I'm loving it and I'm just trying to improve every day and I'm getting the same feedback from everyone in the group right now."

There will of course be a requirement for patience as a comeback in any capacity is already an inspirational story, though the enormity of the achievement hit the big man during his time in Darwin, particularly when suiting up alongside bronze medal winning Boomers teammate Nathan Sobey.

"There was a point at half time where it wasn't lost on me. We had a chat, and I was telling him how special it is. He was on the team with me the last time I played, I was watching him in his last game and now we get to come out and play our first game in a long while together. He wasn't coming back in the second half, and I told him, it's awesome and amazing and I'm so thankful to step out with him."

The box score stats will come, as will the 3-point stroke, with the evolution of his floor spacing ability coming to the forefront in his most recent NBA seasons. After four made threes in his first six regular seasons, Baynes knocked down 107 in the three that followed.

"You don't want to be a dinosaur; you don't want the game to outgrow you. My first years in the NBA we were going to the Western Conference Finals and we were playing against Golden State.

"You see all these kids that want to be Steph but don't forget about all the NBA players that want to be Steph as well. You want to be the best and he's the best. He's the best shooter of all time, everyone is trying to get a little of what Steph has."

"I may have misjudged just how close the 3-point line was last night, I was trying to laugh at myself. I walked off and asked if someone can tell me just how much difference there is between the NBA and NBL 3-point line. Not every shot will fall but it's about building confidence and there's been a lot of years' work put into it."

Even after nine seasons and 522 regular season appearances in the NBA, the adrenaline and excitement of on court competition will be hard to contain. Sobey instantly smiled when asked by ESPN who was the biggest trash talker on the Bullets roster, indicating his close mate had more than a bit to say in his on-court return.

"I kind of pulled myself up after the game and gave myself a bit of a slap. I asked myself, 'what are you doing out there you bloody joker'," Baynes said with a laugh.

"There was one point where their bench got up and started getting rowdy and the competitive juices were flowing but at the same time that's not what I want for our group, that's not what I want for me to be known as.

"I've had a chat with a couple of the guys and said that's not the brand of basketball I want to play, that's not what I want to be known as. I want to have fun. Fun basketball to me is going out there and competing and playing as hard as you can and doing the right things.

"No one is going to be able to take the enjoyment out of it for me. The only person who could do that is myself and I'm not going to let that happen. I'm smiling as much as I can and putting out the right energy and it's going to come back, it always does."