Kerr impressed by several Baldwin Jr. traits during Japan trip


When Patrick Baldwin Jr. was selected by the Warriors with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the team and analysts weren't exactly sure what Golden State had in the 6-foot-9 forward.

Baldwin Jr. was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, but injuries limited him to just 11 games at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin last season.

So when he played a total of 25 combined minutes in the Warriors' two preseason wins against the Washington Wizards in Japan over the last few days, it was coach Steve Kerr's first extended glimpse of the 19-year-old.

Baldwin Jr. made the most of his playing time, finishing with a total of 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in two games. In the Warriors' comeback win in the finale at Saitama Super Arena, all 12 of Baldwin Jr.'s points came on 3-pointers.

"He was terrific," Kerr told reporters after the game, which took place Sunday in Japan. "Just a really good basketball player. He understands the game. You can see with his flow, his movements, his shooting, his passing. He made a great pass in transition. He just gets it and he's got really good feel. He's a guy who hardly played in college because of the injury, but really highly rated recruit coming out of high school and you can see why. Great size, great feel, great shooting touch, so really excited about him."


Since there wasn't much college tape on Baldwin Jr. and because he didn't play in the Las Vegas Summer League, Kerr had to rely on word of mouth for a scouting report.

"I didn't know what to expect, really, although at the end of the summer, all the coaches who were working with him when I was out of town were raving about him," Kerr said. "They prepped me for it and said this guy has really good feel and will be a good fit for us but this last week really is my first chance to see him play. So, very impressed."

In the Warriors' final preseason game in Japan, Baldwin Jr. didn't play in the first half but once he entered the game in the second half, he looked like he belonged. He hit two 3-pointers in both the third and fourth quarters, while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out an assist. He was a plus-23 as Golden State outscored Washington, 50-39, in the second half to pull out a 104-95 win.

Finally healthy, Baldwin Jr. is embracing the chance to learn while in the Warriors' culture.

"This is really fun," Baldwin Jr. told Warriors radio broadcaster Tim Roye after the game. "I'm just out here having a blast in this environment. It's just great to be around."

With the crowded Warriors' rotation, it's unlikely Baldwin Jr. plays much in the NBA this season. More likely is the first-round draft pick spending a majority of the year with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors working on his game and playing as many minutes as possible.

RELATED: What Warriors fans can expect from Baldwin Jr. this season

But in a small sample size, Baldwin Jr. gave Kerr and the Warriors a glimpse of what he's capable of when his time comes.

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