Analyzing the Warriors' First Round Pick: Patrick Baldwin Jr.


Immediately after the Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA Championship, Bob Myers and the Warriors' front office had to quickly turn their attention to the event that symbolized the start of a new NBA season: the NBA Draft. Though there were rumors that the Warriors wanted to trade their first round pick, the Warriors ended up making a draft selection. Many players were falling in the 2022 NBA Draft, such as TyTy Washington and EJ Liddell, who were projected to be drafted in the late lottery- early 20s range; yet, the Warriors opted to select Patrick Baldwin Jr., a raw prospect with an incredibly high potential that was projected to be picked in the late first round. 

Patrick Baldwin Jr. is a 6'10 forward who played for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in his freshman (and only) season. One might think that a player who chooses to play at a midmajor such as the UoWM was not a highly-touted high school prospect, but that was certainly not the case for Patrick Baldwin Jr.. Baldwin has been a top basketball recruit for essentially his entire high school career, and at one point, he was ranked #1 in the nation for his class, ahead of players such as Paolo Banchero, Jonathan Kuminga (before he reclassified to an older class), and Chet Holmgren. He ended his high school career as the 5th best player in the nation for his class, and that was even after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in his senior year of high school.  He essentially had an offer from all the top colleges in the nation, such as Duke, Kentucky, USC, and North Carolina. Though it is known that he heavily considered going to Duke for his collegiate career, he ended up committing to the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee because his father was the head coach there. His freshman year was, quite frankly,  underwhelming. He also dealt with some injuries related to the one he suffered in his senior year of high school, causing him to play just 11 games in college. 


The Warriors knew that Patrick Baldwin Jr. has got a lot of potential, as he was a consensus top recruit in high school, which is why they used a first round pick on him. Baldwin has got fantastic size, standing at 6'10 with over a 7' wingspan. His shot also look very fluid and smooth, and it looks and feels a lot better than the numbers suggest. The Warriors are banking on the fact that in the NBA, Baldwin can shoot like he did in high school, and not shoot the way he did in college. If he puts his physical traits and his fluid-looking jumpshot together, he will become dangerous. As previously mentioned, his dad is a collegiate coach, and being the son of a high-level coach definitely has its benefits. First off, Baldwin is a very hard worker and plays hard, as his dad has been coaching and pushing him ever since he started playing basketball. This means he has an incredible work ethic and gives his all on both ends of the floor. Also, being a coach's son means that Baldwin has a high level basketball IQ. Under his dad, he learned how to properly and effectively move without the basketball, when to make the right pass, and when to be assertive on the offensive end. His basketball skills are what NBA teams covet in the modern era, as he is a mobile stretch big, and if he puts everything together, from his passing ability to his shot to his length and size, Baldwin can truly make an impact for the Warriors for a long time.


Baldwin's most glaring weakness is his lack of athleticism. He does not have a great vertical, and his speed is not the greatest. In high school, he could get away with it as most players around him were not athletic nor tall, but at the collegiate level, it was clear that his lack of athleticism was hurting him, particularly when he was finishing around the basket. At the NBA level, Baldwin will have to be a deadly shooter and perimeter player, and rely more on his finesse and touch rather than athleticism. Another weakness or issue of Baldwin's is his injury risk. Baldwin has clearly been hampered by an ankle injury for two years in a row now (senior year of high school and freshman year), and it is not encouraging to see that a young player like Baldwin had to miss so much time early on in his career. Having a bad ankle can be harmful in lots of ways for an NBA player, as a bad ankle means bad mobility, and bad mobility means poor perimeter defense. However, the Warriors have a great medical and training staff led by Rick Cellebrini, so hopefully they can get Baldwin's ankle issues under control. Overall, Baldwin has got lots of potential, and under the right guidance and help, he can most definitely become a Michael Porter Jr-type player. 

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