Patrick Baldwin Jr. is a former 5-Star recruit and surprised many by choosing to pass on offers from Duke, the University of North Carolina, Kentucky, and many other schools to play under his dad at the University of Milwaukee. Baldwin Jr. entered his Freshman year as the 5th-ranked prospect in ESPN’s top 100, one spot ahead of Jabari Smith. He had high expectations and came out the gate playing great, scoring 10 or more points in 5 of his 6 first games there. However, Baldwin Jr. would suffer a calf and ankle injury early in the season and would re-aggravate his ankle injury later in the season before being sidelined for the rest of it in late February.
There is a reason why he isn’t a projected top 10 pick anymore though, he struggled badly to end the season. He scored less than 10 points in 4 of the 5 last games he played in. Playing in a weaker conference he was expected to thrive and he did the opposite. Despite averaging 17.4 points through his first 5 games, Baldwin Jr. finished the season and averaged 12.1 points a game. Even with Baldwin Jr.’s struggles to end the season his frame and shooting ability is enough to get a team to take a chance on him.
Patrick Baldwin Jr., Wing, Milwaukee
Height (w/ shoes) 6 feet, 9.25 inches
Weight 230.8 lbs
Wingspan 7 feet, 1.75 inches
Age 19 (11/18/02)
In a game versus Robert Morris University, Baldwin Jr. put up 26 points and shot 6-6 from three in that game. Baldwin’s opponent was in a zone for most of the game and he was able to recognize it and take advantage of the zone coverage. He showed an innate ability to knock down catch-and-shoot threes and relocate off the ball for open looks. Baldwin Jr. has a nice high and fast release, with his 6’9 frame he is also able to shoot over smaller players’ contests. Baldwin Jr. uses off-ball screens very well and also knows how to trail the play and step into his shot at an elite level.
But I must note that Baldwin Jr. shot 26% from three in his only collegiate season however, he had a nagging ankle injury that appeared to bother him more and more as the season went on. He started the first 6 games of the season shooting 12-30 from three but ended the last games shooting 5-34.
Baldwin Jr. has a fantastic feel for where to be on the court, he knows when to cut at the right time and also where to cut to get an open shot. He uses a plethora of off-ball screens and movement in general to get open without the ball. Baldwin Jr. has also shown shades of finishing especially when he is attacking the rim going downhill. He is a comfortable shooter who won’t shy away and is especially confident in the mid-range. Patrick is a smart player and he knows how to get himself and teammates open, despite having poor assist numbers he knows how to find other players working off-ball and should grow as a playmaker in an NBA offense.
Baldwin Jr. played guard for a lot of the season, he would take pull-up shots off of screens and was able to find an open cutter if the defense paid too close attention to him. He is able to take the ball coast-to-coast and finish at the rim with contact or will sometimes pull-up for a shot instead. With Baldwin Jr. being 6’9 he will likely transform into a wing in the NBA, but having those guard skills in his frame is very coveted among NBA teams. He is good at knowing how the defense is guarding him and can react with appropriate moves very well, is also spectacular at dribbling into his shot.
Baldwin Jr. struggles defending the ball, smaller and faster guards can blow right past him once Baldwin Jr. makes one move. He just doesn’t have great foot speed and can’t keep up with some players. If he does manage to stay in front of the drive, players make the shot over him anyways as he doesn’t have particularly great defensive instincts or awareness. Baldwin Jr. relies on help defense and isn’t fast enough to switch to the open man. He reminds me a lot of what MPJ’s defense was like for a while.
Creating his own shot
Baldwin Jr. had nearly all of his baskets coming off of an assist, he was an excellent catch-and-shoot shooter but, he oftentimes struggles unless something was created for him. He doesn’t have the burst of speed needed to blow past his defenders and doesn’t have a tight enough ball handle to dribble around them. When the ball is in his hands at the end of the clock he struggles to get off a good shot.
Projected Draft Range: 25th-35th overall
Denver Stiffs Big Board: 33rd overall
Baldwin Jr. has scoring talent and an NBA-level frame, his struggles on defense and his foot speed make me hesitant to say he’s worth a first-round pick. The shooting and scoring is definitely there but he looks a few years away from playing a significant role in an NBA offense. I think there are some similarities to Kevin Knox for Baldwin Jr., both guys were great scorers coming into the league but the lack of defense and athleticism was what held Knox back, it could do the same for Baldwin Jr. too.
Baldwin Jr. has first-round potential, but from picks 20-29 teams are looking for players that can help win games right now and Baldwin Jr. might not be that. A team like the Oklahoma City Thunder or another rebuilding team would be the best fit for Baldwin Jr., he would get plenty of minutes and wouldn’t have the pressure of being in a championship competing locker room. If I was in Denver’s front office I would stay away from Baldwin Jr. unless they know something that I don’t.