Scouting Report: Patrick Baldwin Jr.'s Shot Selection Is Clouding His Draft Stock
The stats aren't the only problem.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. began the season with sky-high expectations. As a five-star recruit, Baldwin appeared to be a lock as a lottery pick in the 2022 draft.
Instead, the Milwaukee freshman forward’s stock has taken a nosedive.
He’s shooting an egregious 34.4 FG% and 26.6 3PT% along with his 12.1 points per game.
Now, it should be noted, Baldwin is forced to create much offense himself because of the ineptitude of his teammates.
But the competition he is going against is also porous.
Baldwin made a venturesome decision to play for his father, Patrick Baldwin Sr., at a mid-major in the Horizon League. The fact he’s struggling so much given his pedigree entering college is disheartening.
It isn’t just the narrative. There are legitimate concerns that have arisen this season. Namely, shot selection and athleticism.
Baldwin entered college basketball with a reputation as a knockdown shooter with NBA range. At 6-foot-10, he was supposed to be the guy who could create shots and elevate over most defenders.
In some respects, he has retained that. Baldwin shows he’s capable of hitting 3-pointers off the bounce and in spot-up situations. He uses the stepback to create space and knocks from distance.
As in, sometimes he creates space. Which is the problem.
Too often — like way too often — Baldwin hoists up futile contested pull-up jumpers, especially from beyond the arc. He simply chucks up substandard jumpers to no avail. It’s produced some appalling stat lines.
And that speaks to the other issue. Baldwin displays average athleticism with an underwhelming vertical. He has “enough” quickness and “enough” of a first step to operate, but at times, he just looks sluggish running up and down the court. Which hinders his overall ability to beat his defender and create offense.
It’s disappointing because his shooting stroke almost institutes healthier shooting percentages are capable. He has sound mechanics with a high release point on his shot and a quick release.
He even shows that in the mid-range. Again, he’s capable off the catch as well as off the dribble. With his 6-10 frame and release point, he elevates over smaller defenders and hits some jumpers.
Also with the size, he works well from the high-post/elbow area. From there, he’ll hit defenders with a spin move and attack the rim or will utilize a rip move and put the ball on the floor. His footwork is solid.
That’s where his shot selection rears its grotesque head once again.
The aforementioned moves are effective, but he’ll so often take a few dribbles then go to his frivolous turnaround jumper. He hits them occasionally, but it’s highly ineffective for the most part.
He’s better off attacking the rim, but even there you’ll find obstacles.
Despite his height and 220-pound frame, Baldwin shies away from contact. He opts to go to his floater most often. If not, he’ll fade away from the rim as he drives or employs a euro step, etc. It’s a heavily-laced finesse game at the rim with a concerning level of physicality absent.
The guy plays like he’s a 5-11 guard who’s liable to have many layups swatted away if he doesn’t resort to that type of game. Which is most certainly not the case.
Maybe some 6-10 players could get away with that with an advanced skillset. But when you combine the finishing woes with his lack of athleticism, it’s not a pretty picture.
All this contributes to his heinous shooting percentages. More importantly, it’s an indication that Baldwin isn’t capable of being a primary (or even secondary) scoring option in the NBA.
I still believe he can flourish as a role player. Which speaks to his other assets.
For one, his playmaking ability is certainly a plus. Although he’s only averaging 1.5 assists, Baldwin displays the ability to look off defenders and find teammates on the move or from a standstill. He has flashed some extra savvy on touch passes.
While he’s not an advanced ball-handler, he’s solid in that department. He shields the ball from defenders and is typically patient with the ball in his hands.
That allows him to operate as a point forward, particularly off a rebound. Baldwin often brings the ball down the floor and finds a teammate for an assist or hands off to a guard to ignite the half-court set.
As a rebounder, he grabs 5.8 a game — a number that doesn’t do justice to his potency on that end.
Baldwin always crashes the glass, but more importantly, he always sticks a body on his man. When the ball goes up, he locates his man and obstructs him from getting the board. If Baldwin doesn’t grab the board, his man certainly won’t.
That type of effort shows up on defense as well. Baldwin is alert and locked in as a help/team defender. He understands rotations and where to help as the defense shifts. He reads passing lanes well and uses his 7-2 wingspan to create some break-ups and grab some steals.
His one-on-one defense, or lack thereof, is adding to his plummeting draft stock.
Baldwin’s lateral quickness is gruesome. He just doesn’t have the athleticism to stick with those matchups, which is hurting his overall profile.
It’s a profile filled with a myriad of queries. His nagging ankle injury is another snag for NBA scouts to sort through.
His draft stock is most certainly in freefall. There are too many uncertainties to tell where he’ll end up being drafted. At least right now.