OK, so now that we know Wade Baldwin is going to be on the roster of the Portland Trail Blazers this season, where does he fit?
Will he play? Will he be in the rotation? What will his role be?
For right now, I’m not sure those questions can be answered. Training camp and the exhibition season will certainly go a long way toward solving those issues.
But at this point, I’d say Baldwin might be in a tough spot.
The Trail Blazer backcourt is going to be as crowded as Interstate-5 North at rush hour, with some veteran players in line ahead of Baldwin.
If you’re thinking about him as the prime candidate to back up Damian Lillard at the point, you might be disappointed. Don’t forget that the Trail Blazers signed free agent Seth Curry and he’s come into his own as an NBA player. He's no longer just somebody's little brother.
While Curry has never been known as a distributor, he can certainly shoot the ball – perhaps Baldwin’s weakest area.
For his career, Curry has shot 47.3 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from three-point range. And yes, we’re talking about SETH Curry, not his brother STEPH.
Now I’m pretty sure Baldwin would have an edge over Curry at the defensive end of the court and may be a better playmaker. He's also the team's biggest and most physical point guard and is capable of playing at a very fast pace. And one more thing in his favor -- he is a player Portland got for nothing who is quickly rebuilding his value as a one-time first-round pick. At some point, he could be a valuable trade piece.
That said, in today’s NBA, the game is becoming all about firepower –- and mostly long-range firepower. Curry can provide that to a team that needs an injection of accurate three-point shooting.
It’s also reasonable to expect rookie Anfernee Simons to get some playing time at one of the guard spots. Yes, he’s young but he’s a special player who needs to play if he’s not optioned to a G-League team.
Add in the projected off-guards on this squad – Nik Stauskas and Gary Trent Jr. – and you can see that Coach Terry Stotts has some decisions to make.
He has a crowd of interesting players at off-guard and could make a little more room for them on the court by using CJ McCollum as a backup point guard frequently.
Baldwin is going to be in the same position he’s been in for most of his career:
How much he plays will be up to him. And he’s probably going to have to play pretty well to earn a regular spot in the rotation.