Warriors select Patrick Baldwin Jr at #28 - huge bet on youth and team culture; grab Ryan Rollins at #44
19 yo with NBA physique and maybe, just maybe, NBA skills
Here is my absurdly oversimplified summary, followed by some film and longer scouting reports.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. at #28
His physical dimensions and skill got him Top-5-hype entering college, but injuries and generally horrible play for his coach dad(!!) at a minor school has completely torpedoed his draft stock.
Ryan Rollins at #44
Bucket getter who does everything except 3 and D (which are kind of important aspects of pro play)
Longer Scouting Reports
Patrick Baldwin, Jr.
The best piece on his personal situation: Matt Norlander for CBS.
Self-comparison: Michael Porter Jr.
Why: “You never want to put a limit on yourself, first and foremost. But there are some guys that you watch film, and you pull from. I know a popular name surrounding me is Michael Porter. So that’s a popular name around circles. I think that’s a good start. But you always want to build the roof off that and continue to progress and improve each year.”
Rising prospects mean others have to fall. Brown, Baldwin and Montero sound like the most vulnerable among players who were projected to be selected in the first round. Baldwin has scouts nervous about his brutally inefficient season, historically low vertical numbers and seemingly casual approach.
Harrison Barnes, Kevin Knox, Jabari Parker
HEIGHT 6'9.25"WEIGHT 231
AGE 19.6YEAR Freshman
Theoretical mismatch nightmare with size and scoring ability, though the results haven’t necessarily been there.
Smooth shooting stroke with an unblockable release point. In the midrange, he has the body control to turn in midair to line up with the rim. He shot the ball far better in high school than he did in college, which provides some optimism that he’ll be able to improve his percentages as he gets more open jump shots in an NBA setting.
Even though the results aren’t there, he looks comfortable getting into his shot out of virtually any play type. He can pick-and-pop, run pick-and-rolls, spot up in the corner, bring the ball up, and pull up in transition. You name it. If the results someday follow, he could begin to match his high school hype.
Against a switching defense, he has the handle and size to score over smaller defenders who might be matched up on him.
Solid off-ball defender who can alter shots at the rim using his long arms.
The argument in favor of Baldwin is his NBA role will not at all resemble what he was asked to do in college. To start his career, teams will ask him to be a 3-and-D role player, not someone who runs the offense. If he can hit spot-up 3s and play hard on defense, he’ll have a chance to stick around.
Complete ball-stopper who takes far too many shots outside of the system, including heavily contested jumpers early in the shot clock. In no way did he make his teammates better. Baldwin played for his father, who was fired following the season, and he got the type of usage you would expect.
Sluggish first step limits his shot-creating ability, plus he lacks the burst and handle to get all the way to the basket consistently. He struggles to finish through contact, so he ends up settling for floaters and heavily contested jumpers.
Lacks on-ball defensive fundamentals, causing him to always be off-balance. It’s as if he thinks constant motion matters more than proper positioning. As a result, opponents drive right by him.
Suffered a left ankle injury that caused him to miss part of his senior year of high school, and has continued to hamper him.
PBJ had perfectly decent measurements at 6’10.25″ with 7’1.75″ wingspan, but his athletic testing was outright miserable.
He was at or near the bottom of every test: dead last in max vert, 2nd to last in standing vert and lane agility, 4th to last in 3/4 court sprint, and 6th to last in the shuttle run.
It can be dangerous to overly invest in athletic testing since it is not always indicative of in game athleticism, but this mostly helps reconcile how he was so dreadfully bad playing low major basketball this season. He is likely too slow and too unathletic to find a niche in the NBA, and it is likely correct to let go of his top 10 recruiting hype and treat him as a likely bust with thin outs to be a useful pro.
He is currently slated as #31 in ESPN’s mock but should be a late 2nd rounder or UDFA.
Baldwin was considered the No. 5 overall recruit in his class when he made the decision to play for his father in the Horizon League over going to Duke. His year with Milwaukee was an outright disaster: his numbers were terrible, an ankle injury limited him to only 11 games, and his father was fired as head coach after a 10-22 season. While the days of Baldwin being considered a top-10 pick are over, there’s still reason to believe in his translation to the NBA. A 6’10, 220-pound forward, Baldwin built his reputation as an elite shooter at the high school level. He can be a major catch-and-shoot threat and does most of his damage on spot-ups or one-dribble pull-ups. His size also allows him to compete defensively, and he’s shown enough off-ball awareness to make some impact on that end. Of course, a pure shooter like Baldwin should hit better than the 26.6 percent from three and 41.8 percent from two-point range he managed as a freshman. The long-term health of his ankle might be a concern as well after it also cost him his senior year of high school. The Bulls simply need both size and shooting, and the best version of Baldwin checks both of those boxes if he can regain the form that once made him so highly touted.
Why He’ll Succeed
Picture perfect form on his jumper. Despite injury issues and not adapting well to huge usage at UW-M, Baldwin’s flashes as a shooter rival anyone in this class, including Jabari Smith.
Showed himself to be a thoroughly competent defender and glue guy at the FIBA U19 World Cup; a role likely much closer to his potential future NBA one.
Should be an instant threat as a spot up shooter, with some ability to attack closeouts and create off a few dribbles.
Good athlete with smooth movement skills. Seems to be a hard worker.
Why He’ll Fail
Has had nagging injuries in ways most teenagers probably shouldn’t. Hard to judge these things given the grueling AAU and workout schedules these guys play through now.
NBA Comp: You can’t make me say MPJ so I’ll say Cam Johnson instead
Pick #25. As mentioned previously, the Spurs may not actually be the team making this pick given they have four draft picks in the top 40. There’s a segment of scouts that remain mostly out on Baldwin after a heavily disappointing year, but he’s started to build back a bit of goodwill after the combine and remains one of the most intriguing shooters in the draft, factoring in his size and clean stroke. Baldwin needs to be able to stay healthy, improve his conditioning, regain his confidence and string games together, but it’s hard to imagine things can get much worse for him than they did in college. Teams will have to understand the bad context and feel comfortable with the situation to actually take the leap here, but there are only so many knockdown shooters with his type of size. Baldwin’s athleticism, defense, and lack of physicality have inspired concerns to varying degrees, but at some point he’s worth a shot.
#48. A tall wing with some perimeter skill who teases with talent in between bouts of sleepwalking, Baldwin comes from a proud draft lineage that includes Austin Daye and Kevin Knox. I don’t really see what the excitement is here, but I’m fascinated to see which team will take the plunge. The idea of Baldwin — a big wing with a 7-1 wingspan and deep shooting range — is alluring, but the reality on the court last year was borderline disastrous.
Even in a poor conference, Baldwin was a below-average player, and in ways that don’t augur well for an NBA translation. Athleticism? Heh. He had the worst standing vertical and worst sprint time of any non-center at the combine, and the worst max vertical of anyone there.
The reason to draft him is a belief that his shooting can come around. Baldwin launched 64 3s in his 11 college games but only made 26.6 percent of them; there is a belief based on his AAU play that he’s capable of much better than this. If so, there could be a stretch four hiding in there somewhere.
College Assistant Coach 8 (his team played Wisconsin-Milwaukee): He’s a capable shooter, but his feet have to be set. Coming off a ball screen, as far as offensively, he is active without the ball. He’s a smart player. You can tell he’s a coach’s kid. He knows when to cut and not to cut. You turn your head, he’ll go backdoor. He doesn’t get to the rim going left at all; he’s pulling up if he’s going left. If he’s going right, he can get to the rim. If he goes left, he’s trying to get to a one-dribble pullup. He’s 6-9, so he can shoot over the top of guys that are guarding him. He’s like a get-to-his-spot type of guy. Off ball screens, he’s not bad. He’ll come off of ball screens and turn them into post-ups. Coming off, he’ll get a switch and just turn his back and post up. He’s actually pretty good at that, which I think translates to the next level. … He doesn’t shoot it well, which I think is really, really going to hurt him. He’s going to have to become a more consistent, just spot-up shooter in general. I don’t think he’s a 3-and-D at all. Those guys are valuable, and I think that’s probably what he’s going to have to be at some point, and I don’t think he is yet. He has to get bigger and stronger, but he is young. They have him listed at 220; there’s no way. I think he’s probably closer to 205, 210, unless he’s put weight on since the season. He’s not thin, but he doesn’t resemble those NBA guys. His biggest thing is he’s a smart player.
Defensively, we were going to attack him. We didn’t think he was great laterally. They played some zone, played some man, they did some different things. And part of it was, I think, he wasn’t interested in being there that much. They weren’t very good. He was playing for his dad. He was susceptible to quicker guys, so we were going to put him in some pick-and-roll situations. He will rebound. He’s a capable and willing rebounder. I think it’s because he’s trying to rebound and push the ball up the floor. He’s one of those guys where it’s like, if I can get the ball off a rebound, I can go. He’s not a shot blocker. I do think he has the ability to guard guys that are bigger than him, because he’s strong and he’s wiry. My worry about him at the next level would be guarding pick and rolls. If he switches onto wings, I don’t think he can do it. … He’s not like a tremendous lateral athlete to me. … he’s going to have to prove he can guard
Ryan Rollins has, quite frankly, fluctuated a bit on our board this year. We value a lot of what he does well: smooth scoring, good length, three-level potential. But he plays a little to slow and clunky of a game for us, isn’t as explosive as we’d like, and we don’t love the translatability of his catch-and-shoot game. His freshman year was pretty rough defensively, and that’s stuck in our head as a means for dampening some of his upside if he isn’t an elite scorer. We’d like him a little better if we bought into the catch-and-shoot impact.
On the hunt for a sleeper, many eyes are drawn toward Toledo combo guard Ryan Rollins. For a while, he was a popular guy on our radar. With long arms and a good frame at 6’4”, Rollins flashes three-level scoring potential and a knack for self-creation in the mid-range. He’s your typical high-volume mid-major guard in that regard.
In order for Rollins to be a major NBA contributor, he’ll need to be a much more consistent shooter to 3-point range. There are some concerning issues with his C&S form — particularly in the lateral nature of his misses — that lead us to believe he won’t gain that trait eventually.
If Rollins were quicker and more of a slick change-of-gears athlete, we may say screw it and go all in on the self-creation. But we aren’t there and think Rollins is more of a late-second guy if anything.
There are rumors that Rollins can sneak into the first round. If that’s to be done, it will be because he shoots the leather off the ball in workouts and performs very well at the combine. Until then, he strikes us more as a high-volume guard who is a good basketball player but lacks a key trait for NBA role playing success and doesn’t have the athleticism necessary to stand out as a clear top option.
A tweener in every sense of the word, Rollins may wind up outside our top-60 when all is said and done.
In a sea of blah shooting guard prospects after Ivey and Wesley, Rollins is the one at whom I’d take the first crack. He won’t turn 20 until July and was the best player in the Mid-American Conference, and his weaknesses (3-point shooting, on-ball defense) are the type of things that seem fixable in a development program. With high rates of steals and rebounds, nearly two dimes for every turnover and a 53.6 percent mark inside the arc, he checks a lot of boxes in categories that correlate with pro success.
I originally had him much higher than this, but his defensive tape was a crushing disappointment. As I noted above, players tell on themselves by how far off the ballhandler they play; the more comfortable they are with their own lateral quickness, the closer they guard the ball. (As a human traffic cone back in the day, I perhaps internalized this lesson more than most.)
Rollins concedes acres of space, frequently allowing no-dribble 3s from the triple threat position, and yet had a lot of trouble beating his man to the spot and cutting off penetration. If this was happening in the MAC, one shudders to think what NBA guards might do to him one-on-one. Rollins’ athletic indicators and plus feel make one think this is fixable, but there’s a chance he’s just so flammable on defense that he can’t stay on the court.
College Head Coach 4 (his team played Toledo): Can shoot the 3, moves without the ball, always solid, high basketball IQ. We double-teamed him. His number didn’t look the best against us, but we had to double team him to get the ball out of his hands. They run more sets, a ton of sets, and a lot of wide pins, pindowns, to get him moving. They run him around a little bit to get him going downhill. Hard to find a little bit. He moves well without the ball, and he’s an exceptional passer. That’s what made him hard to guard. He made the right decisions. That’s where the IQ comes in. He was able to put guys in good positions. Wouldn’t say he’s the best defender, but he’s decent. He’s not horrible. And he tries and competes at the defensive end.
Western Conference Executive No. 4: Let’s see how this plays out. I could see him be the climber, the sweetheart, after Chicago. And maybe I could be completely wrong. But Bones (Hyland) came out of there and shut it down after one day.
Rollins measured a slightly disappointing 6’3.25″ height, but atoned with an excellent 6’9.75″ wingspan.
He only played in one scrimmage where he had a number of plays that popped including an athletic putback and being pesky with deflections on defense. But he was very sloppy with 5 turnovers on a relatively limited offensive load of 9 FGA and 3 assists, and missed all three of his 3’s including a couple of bad bricks on wide open looks.
This makes it difficult to know where to place him in the draft. He has potential in a number of ways, as he has good defense for his size and decent offensive skills for a guard who doesn’t turn 20 until shortly after the draft.
But the question with him is: does he have enough offensive skill to get excited over at 6’3? In his two NCAA seasons he made a solid 79.6% FT, but only 31.7% 3P on moderate volume. For a little guy, it needs to be a concern whether he can ever make NBA 3’s with consistency.
The other question is whether he can be a lead guard, as he can get to the rim decently enough and had more assists (3.6) than turnovers (2.2) as a sophomore but is not a true point guard. The turnover issues in the scrimmage were not encouraging on this front.
So he is on the fringe of good in almost every category. It is plausible that with his length and instincts he is a + defensive player and has enough skill to develop into a + offensive player in time. Or it’s plausible that he is a buck short in everything across the board for a little guy and isn’t an NBA player.
He is projected as undrafted in ESPN’s pre-combine mock which seems harsh, as it is tough to see 50 prospects ahead of him in this draft. But he did not show quite enough to get hyped on him as a top 30 guy who belongs in round 1.
He is a difficult one to rank, but early-mid round 2 seems reasonable based on what he has shown these past few days..