Patrick Baldwin Jr. had a tough collegiate year under the tutelage of his father in Milwaukee, battling form issues in an injury-plagued season.
As a result, the talented 6-foot-9 forward went from a consensus five-star recruit to falling to the Golden State Warriors at pick 28 in the 2022 NBA draft. The Warriors were rumored to be looking to trade the pick but obviously didn’t find a deal worthy of their time.
The Golden State Warriors, fresh off another championship, continue to put faith in their medical and development staff following the pick of Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Shrewdly pointed out by Ryen Russillo on the latest episode of the Bill Simmons podcast, Baldwin Jr. is just another in a long line of Warriors draft picks where the franchise has prioritized the high-school pedigree.
"“This is a thing with them. So if you go back, like Looney, he had this weird hip thing because he grew too fast. He was a five-star, the tenth overall player in his class coming out. (Harrison) Barnes was a five-star, granted that was a higher pick…Poole was a four-star, Damion Jones four-star, Jacob Evans four-star, Kuminga was a five-star…Nico Mannion was a five-star, he was the 12th rated player in his class”."
Mannion is the big name that comes to mind for most, and his NBA potential wasn’t truly realized. The Dubs still have his NBA rights, but there’s no telling whether or not he’ll actually make a return.
As for their most recent prodigy, Baldwin Jr. appears like a boom-or-bust type prospect, with the Warriors placing faith in a development system that saw their championship roster filled with eight homegrown, drafted players.
It’s a recipe that’s worth continuing according to Russillo.
"“It appears with Baldwin that they’re following a pattern that they’ve hit on in multiple years..they’re like “ok, where not even worried about what we just saw (in college). It’s 28, we just won a title, maybe we get lucky…it’s worked more than it hasn’t”."
Although he may take substantial time to develop, Baldwin Jr. projects as a perfect fit within the Warriors system theoretically, and he won’t have to battle with players like Jordan Poole or James Wiseman for minutes.
A smooth shooting stroke would ideally take advantage of opportunities created by the spacing of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Poole, while the size and frame could make him a versatile defender and helpful rebounder on the other end.
Baldwin’s ankle injury makes him touch-and-go for the NBA Summer League, with a final decision set to be made by Rick Celebrini and the Warriors’ medical staff.