NBA prospect Wade Baldwin has been out of service for the last two weeks dealing with concussion symptoms as a result of taking a forearm to the head during a workout in Phoenix. So he was happy to get back on the floor in Sacramento Wednesday for a Kings pre-draft workout.
Baldwin, a 6'4'' point guard out of Vanderbilt, said he didn't get a chance to meet with the Kings at the combine in Chicago so they were pleased to bring him in.
"They really wanted to see me and they were ecstatic that I came out here and participated in this," Baldwin said. "Coming into this process back at Vanderbilt, I wasn’t really projected to be a lottery guy. I was about the mid-20s around there, high teens, and I’ve just launched myself. And I'm here working out for a team as a priority for them, and they have the 8th pick in the draft, top 10 pick, so I'm just grateful to be out here."
Baldwin has crept up in the rankings recently to the point that he is now a fringe lottery pick. Sports Illustrated has Baldwin going to the Kings at 8 in its latest mock draft, as do several other mock drafts these days. He is known for his shooting, length, defense and passing. The knock on him is that he lacks decision-making qualities, handles and consistency. He averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists and 4 rebounds last season for Vanderbilt (42 percent from the field and 40 percent from three).
While Baldwin said he doesn't pay attention to what people say he can or can't do, he offered his own analysis.
"My biggest strength is just competitive nature, athleticism, being able to pass the ball, see over guys, use my tools on defense, being tenacious that way," Baldwin said. "Weaknesses, you can get better at everything. I am true believer in that I want to be the best in every possible aspect of the game."
The draft is quite an experience for NBA prospects and the thought of being selected as high as No. 8 makes Baldwin, who points out that he wasn't considered a top 100 player coming out of high school, light up with excitement. Yet he understands it is only one small step in the process.
"It's cool, but it's so microscopic in terms of the next 10 years of your career. This process, being drafted, it's unbelievable, it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but once you get on a team man ... There's guys that were in the second round that I played against last year, Josh Richardson, who was I think like the 40th pick and he turned out to be great for Miami," Baldwin said. "So the draft is so microscopic in terms of the way things are going."
On Thursday, the Kings will be bringing in Elgin Cook (Oregon), Isaiah Taylor (Texas), Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa), Shaquille Harrison (Tulsa), Derrick Jones (UNLV) and Shonn Miller (UConn).