Wade Baldwin IV
NBA Position: PG
General Information: 20-year-old sophomore, played at Vanderbilt. From Metuchen, NJ.
Measurables: 6'4", 202 lbs, 6'11.2" wingspan, 8'4" standing reach, 32.5' no step vertical, 38' max vertical.
2015-16 Season Statistics: 14.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.8 TOPG (35 games played, 30.4 minutes per contest) - 42.7% FG, 79.9% FT, 40.6% 3P
Baldwin is a physically gifted player with a good first step, insane length and a good success rate from three, but lacks consistency in his court vision, ball handling, and ability to create his own shot. He switches between looking like a future star and looking like a sure lottery bust. If he can develop his raw gifts and gain significant court awareness, he could be an above-average NBA point guard, but that is a moderately sized if.
Baldwin has a wide-range of developing skills bolstered by NBA-level athleticism and elite length (a 6'11.25" wingspan on a 6'4 guard is insane - for comparison, that is longer than Shaun Livingston's reach and equal to Tyreke Evans'). His most immediate skill will be his range; he's a career 42% shooter from three, and he showed good consistency with the catch-and-shoot. He's a capable shooter, but he's got a slow release and will have to develop more moves to get himself open because he lacks the creativity to create for himself consistently. Baldwin had some excellent highlights in the paint, but despite his long arms and solidly-quick first step, he shot a very poor 50.4% at the rim.
Baldwin is a solid passer who improved over his two years, and Vanderbilt built their offense around his ball control. His 33.2% assist rate is better than Demetrius Jackson and just a notch under Tyler Ulis, and that rate is made more impressive considering his middling usage rate (25.3%). Much like the rest of his game, his floor general skills are developing, and while clearly present I think he'll have a rougher transition into the NBA than many expect. He doesn't have great court vision for his position yet, and looked lost too often for a top-tier collegiate point. While his assist numbers are solid, his gut instinct when the defense pressures him seems to be to find a way to shoot the ball. Baldwin also doesn't have much in the way of handles (his dribble is too high, and he lacks creative moves to compliment his quick first step), and his turnover rate of 18.2% is the second worst among the 1st round points.
His numbers also dropped against better competition; against Tennessee, Florida, Detroit, Wake Forest, and Stony Brook (only Stony Brook made the tournament), he averaged 21.4 points on 60% shooting, while against Texas, Kentucky, Wichita State, Kansas, and Texas A&M (all tournament teams), he averaged 9.8 points on 34% shooting. Two pieces of good news - his assist numbers stayed consistent despite his opponents, and Vanderbilt won one of those contests against then 5th ranked Texas A&M (Baldwin had 17 points and 8 assists). Still, the noticeable drop against higher tier opponents (all who had solid, potentially NBA level guards) is a major worry.
Much like his offense, Baldwin has significant potential as a defender but lacks the discipline to be an immediate contributor. This is a standard weakness for collegiate players, and especially so in this class. Baldwin is developing solid ball-hawking skills, and with his 6'11 wingspan and quick hands, this could be a serious strength. He's an engaged defender a majority of the time, but he tends to get discouraged and is too prone to inaction.
Baldwin's 11.1% total rebounding rate is very solid for a guard, and he could be a serious rebounding threat in the NBA thanks to his length and 38' inch max vertical.
Baldwin is an enigma who can look like a future star one moment and a basketball newbie the next. Two back-to-back plays I remember from Vanderbilt/Kansas capture this best - on the first play, he got by his defender, contorted his body to block out two rim defenders, and used his long arms for a highlight spinning lay-up. The next play, he dribbled out the clock, fail to see two open teammates at the top of the paint, and forced up a contested mid-range jumper that barely grazed the rim. All of his weaknesses are curable with a few years of development, but I think he'll disappoint if he's expected to be an immediate contributor. Regardless, his fuller range of developing skills give him a moderately high ceiling, and in a class full of project players Baldwin certainly belongs in the lottery conversation.
Fit with Sacramento:
If Vlade Divac wants to start Dave Joeger's tenure off with a young point guard (and assuming Kris Dunn is off the board), Baldwin would be an exciting pick. He's a high potential prospect who, given the proper development staff (one who will work on his court vision, offensive awareness, and dribbling) could certainly take the reigns as the floor leader in two or three seasons. Significant caution should be applied with any expectations, though; Baldwin is absolutely a raw project player.
Baldwin has the length and shooting ability to play off the ball, but aside from proven success as a catch-and-shoot longballer, he was never asked to consistently play off the ball. His excellent length and quick first step will help him in guarding some two-guards, and I think he has the most defensive potential of the point guard class not named Dunn.
While Baldwin isn't in my top ten, if the Kings think he's the BPA at eight, I wouldn't consider it a bad pick. I believe Demetrius Jackson is the classes second best point guard, and I favor his intensity and wider scoring ability over Baldwin, but like Baldwin, Jackson isn't the most polished, proven point guard. Baldwin also has significantly higher defensive potential; he's not the speed demon that Jackson is, but he's also got four to five inches on Jackson and comes with a pterodactyl wingspan.
As always, check out the DraftExpress breakdowns.