NBA draft grades: High-upside Baldwin Jr. worth risk for Dubs


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors added two teenagers in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody last year through the draft, and one year later, they weren't afraid to take another. 

With the No. 28 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Warriors selected Patrick Baldwin Jr., a 6-foot-9 forward full of potential at 19 years old.

Baldwin once was seen as the top high school recruit in the class of 2021, and finished as the No. 5 overall prospect on ESPN's top 100.

He originally was committed to Duke but opted to play for his father at Milwaukee. His one season at the mid-major didn't go as planned. 

Far from it. 

In his one season in college, Baldwin played only 11 games. He averaged 12.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting a lowly 34.4 percent from the field and 26.6 percent from 3-point range. However, he also shot 74.4 percent from the free-throw line and his shot looks much better than his numbers suggest. 

Compared to years past, the Warriors now are well suited to develop players and integrate upside in the G League with their Santa Cruz affiliate. This could be the perfect situation for Baldwin. He needs time, he needs structure, he needs to be in a building full of veterans who will hold him accountable. 

Joining Golden State checks all the boxes. Time will tell if Baldwin was worth the risk for general manager Bob Myers and the Warriors' front office. 

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As a junior in high school, Baldwin averaged 24.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. He then sustained a season-ending ankle injury in his second game of his senior season, an injury that lingered during his short college career. His lone college season consisted of that bothersome ankle, dealing with COVID-19 and being in a system that held him back in many aspects. 

Now, the Warriors will look to unlock all his tools. After winning four championships in the last eight seasons, the future is here. And Baldwin could be a big part of it -- if all goes right. 

Jordan Poole turned 23 years old four days ago. James Wiseman is 21, Moses Moody is 20, Kuminga is 19 and so is Baldwin. The Warriors can take their time with their latest top pick. Patience paid off with Poole, another Milwaukee product, and the skill set shows it certainly can with Baldwin as well.