What Baldwin Jr. is focused on to crack Kerr's rotation


Despite not having a defined role yet with the Warriors, rookie Patrick Baldwin Jr. already knows what he has to do when he's on the floor.

When asked what he will do when given minutes by coach Steve Kerr, Baldwin gave a succinct answer.

"I think most importantly is rebounding and defending," Baldwin said on Sunday during Warriors Media Day. "If you can defend for Steve Kerr, you can play.

"Really understanding the principles and first and foremost guarding your man one-on-one."

Baldwin continued to say that if a player can play defense, that is one way to crack Kerr's rotation.

"Steve Kerr is a defensive coach, and I'm sure you guys all know that but that's one of the main things with him; if you can defend, you can play."

Along with revamping the offense, Kerr has always made defense a priority.

Since Kerr took over as coach in 2014, the Warriors have always been in the top 15 in defensive rating -- with the injury-hampered 2019-20 season notwithstanding. 

And in the four years the Warriors have won the championship, they ranked first (2015), second (2017), 11th (2018), and tied for first -- with the Boston Celtics -- (2022), respectively, per basketball-reference.

Kerr understands defense wins championships, and it's no wonder why he preaches the importance of it to his young players.

With Baldwin already understanding what he needs to do when he gets on the floor, it bodes well for the 19-year-old's chances of seeing the court. 

As it stands, the No. 28 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft will have a tough time cracking the rotation, as Kerr said himself to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami last week on "The TK Show."


Moreover, NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole explained what fans can expect from Baldwin this season, as the young forward is expected to spend the majority of the season in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. 

RELATED: Warriors staffer 'shocked' in exciting way over Baldwin Jr.

Nevertheless, Baldwin has impressed the Warriors' coaching staff with his ability, IQ, and intangibles during the offseason. 

However, if and when Baldwin does make an appearance with the big club, expect him to focus on two things: rebounding and defending.

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