Vitals:

Wade Baldwin is a 6’3” point guard with a 6’10” wingspan, who played his college ball with the Commodores of Vanderbilt. Wade just turned 20 on March 29th.  He’s an intelligent kid, almost overthinks the best basketball play at times.  Played with Karl Anthony-Towns in High School at St. Joseph High School in New Jersey.  Both his parents worked for pretty intense government agencies.  I don’t wanna get too far into it, they scare me.

Intro:

The Wade man is another player that fits in with our core very well.  Using a combo guard to guard point guards and give Giannis a secondary ball-handler makes a ton of sense scheme wise.  Baldwin allows us to play the type of ball we want to play.  He had an up and down sophomore season, leading Vandy to a first four bid in the NCAA tournament, losing to Wichita State in their first game.  This Vanderbilt team did have other NBA talent on its roster, but no one that could take over on offense forcing Baldwin to stretch his game a little more than he’d like.  Many of his flaws were based on him having to do more than he’s capable.  Baldwin averaged 14.1 points, 4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.

Strengths:

-Length:  Wade has the ability to affect passing lanes and shot selection with his long frame.  Most point guards don’t bring a 6’10” wingspan to the table. It also allows him to finish strong despite an average burst, whether it be a highlight dunk or a swing through fast break layup.

-Defense: He comes into the league NBA ready on the defensive end, showing good instincts, quick lateral movements, and enough strength to not get bullied down into the post.  Will be able to guard either backcourt position.

-Spot up shooter: Being able to play off the ball bodes well for Wade in our offense.  He’s great at setting his feet, squaring up towards the hoop, and using his compact release to get the shot off quick.  Having the ability to pass to Giannis set up for a three was something we only received from Jerryd Bayless last season.  Finding a young player that fits into the offense so well is something we at least have to consider.

-Willing Passer:  While being the guy at Vanderbilt, Baldwin always made sure to keep his teammates involved.  He’d be very effective as a secondary ball-handler, as he looks to rotate the ball and make the right play.  He’s not a great floor general, but in the secondary role, at his age, he has the smarts to help keep the offense flowing.

Weaknesses:

-Handle:  Struggles to make a guy miss, mostly plays downhill trying to get past the defender’s hip by winning the angle, or a simple crossover.  His handle doesn’t expand much beyond that.

-Mid-Range: Without a midrange game, Baldwin either has to get to the rim, or take the deep jumper.  Teams can scout for that, once he gets past the 3 point line, he’s either going for the rim, or dishing to a teammate.

-Effort: Fails to get through screens that he’s shows the ability to guard.  On offense he gets into the lane and pulls the occasional ‘MCW’ by jumping into the air, twisting hoping to see eleven of his teammates diving towards the rim, only to realize that his four teammates are guarded, so he just throws the ball straight up in the air.  In my opinion, there is some lack of effort involved in plays like that.  Point Guards in today’s NBA have to be capable of getting to the rim and backing the ball out, resetting the offense.

Rookie Year for Milwaukee:

With Wade Baldwin, the Bucks will be getting a rotation point guard, with the potential to step into the starting line-up at some point during his rookie year.  I’d be especially curious to see how he plays with Giannis on the floor.  If he steps back and plays as a secondary ball handler, being there to get Giannis out of a mistake or two, help get the ball where it needs to go, hitting a couple shots a game to keep the defense stretched, opening lanes for the likes of our core, his minutes will increase as the season progresses.

On defense, Baldwin should come into the league and show his worth right away.  It may take him some time to learn the NBA defensive rotations, but even when he’s winging it, his length will get him a deflection or strong contest here and there.  He’ll provide us with exciting steals, creating fast break dunks for himself on the other end.  I love his defensive potential, if he’s locking down the opposing point guard, and we have Giannis running the show on the other end, I really like our chances at winning that game.  He won’t lock down everyone his rookie season, but on the nights that he brings it, man, are things gonna be looking smooth.

All that being said, he will struggle during stretches of his rookie season.  He needs to learn how to make up for his lack of burst to score inside against these NBA bigs.  Wade will also need to learn how much energy winning requires, and work on his set up moves to make it easier to evade his defender.  The good thing is all his problems can be improved upon.

Future for Milwaukee:

Wade is a projected first round pick due to his potential on the defensive end, and the ability he showed at Vandy to hit the three ball, shooting 40% his sophomore year.  Those two qualities are exactly what we’re looking for from our point guard to play alongside our true point guard, Giannis.  Finding a point guard that plays alongside Giannis damn near perfectly will be tough.  Wade Baldwin could be that guy down the line.

So long as he solidifies himself as a defensive presence, I think his weaknesses will dull over time.  He’ll add moves to his handle, and figure out his minor effort issues, which may have simply come from the stress of being the guy at Vanderbilt.  He needed to have some energy for the closing moments of games.  Being a piece instead of the guy, seems to fit Wade much better.  He has the tools and talent to play off ball offensively, throw the ball to one of the core players and cut to the weak side of the defense spotting up for a three, waiting to hit the big shot.

The Bucks need to find a player that fits in with our schemes in the draft, but also need to realize it’ll be a couple years before they truly help us start winning games.  Baldwin is a great fit for our team, but will probably need a two to three years of development before things really click.  Baldwin has the potential to be a steal and a slam being selected tenth.

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