Warriors appreciate Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s basketball intelligence. above worry about injuries

Warriors Appreciate Baldwin’s Basketball IQ Over Injury Concerns originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s decision to follow his father to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee instead of spending one season with Duke under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t quite go as planned. It also helped the former top recruit to be available once the Warriors were in time with the No. 28 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft

Baldwin played only 11 games for his father’s Milwaukee Panthers as a freshman. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 34.4 percent from the field and 26.6 percent from the 3-point range against medium competition. But at almost six feet and 230 pounds, the Warriors still believe in Baldwin’s talent and skyrocketing potential, concluding that the risk is worth the reward.

His basketball IQ also stood out to CEO Bob Myers and the top decision-makers at Golden State.

“When we watched the movie with him, you could tell he’s a coach’s son,” Myers told reporters at Chase Center on Thursday night after the draft closed. “Our system requires a pretty high level of thinking. He’s versatile; we think he can play with some of our guys.”

The older Baldwin excelled in his four-year career at Northwestern. He is still the all-time leader in steals and second in assists. His coaching career ended as an assistant at Green Bay, Loyola, Missouri State and Northwestern. Following Milwaukee’s 10-win campaign in the 2021-22, Baldwin was let go by Milwaukee and is reportedly joining the Georgetown staff.

He also played professionally in Bosnia and Croatia.

As the son of a coach and former player, you are certainly no guarantee for a successful NBA career. The Warriors have seen the best of that side in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Andrew Wiggins’ father played in the NBA for six seasons, Draymond Green’s aunt, Annette, played for Michigan State, and Jordan Poole’s father is a well-known AAU coach.

But it doesn’t always turn out so perfect. However, basketball has been an important part of Baldwin’s life since Day 1, and it didn’t go unnoticed when he met the Warriors.

“Being a coach’s son doesn’t make a player a good thinker, but most of them are. They’ve been involved with the game all their lives,” Myers said.

Green will give Baldwin’s basketball IQ to watch the moment he first shares the word with the four-time champion. Baldwin is already a big fan of Green’s style, especially his leadership.

In an interview with Kahrima Winston of the Sherpherd Express, Baldwin was asked in late February about his basketball ambitions. His first reaction was about stats, awards or future trophies to display. He went a different way.

Baldwin immediately mentioned Draymond. Four months later, the Warriors made the 19-year-old their top pick in the draft.

“One of my inspirations, in terms of leadership, is Draymond Green,” Baldwin told Winston. “I know people don’t say that too often. With his leadership style, I don’t think people understand that to be that type of vocal leader you have to be that guy who brings it every night.

“Ever since I saw Draymond in college and in the NBA, he’s a guy who brings it every night.”

It’s no surprise that Green was in the Warriors’ drawing room and Myers immediately asked everything there was to know about Baldwin and that he wanted to talk to the teen as soon as possible. Myers assured the veteran that Baldwin is built the way Green wants.

“Draymond appreciates that kind of thinking player,” Myers said. “He liked it. If he didn’t, he’d tell me.’

Myers and the Warriors are fans of how Baldwin is built between his ears. He still has the hiccups physically. Baldwin dislocated his ankle in the second game of his senior high school season, and it clearly stuck into his disappointing college season.

When asked how much the Warriors think Baldwins only hurt his game as a freshman, Myers didn’t mince his words, instead saying “quite a bit”. The Warriors brought in Baldwin a few days ago and didn’t take him through a full workout. He got some shots, went through medicals and watched a movie. Rick Celebrini, the Warriors’ director of sports medicine and performance, made it clear that Baldwins just isn’t 100 percent right now and that he should free him up to play in the summer league at all.

The last thing the Warriors will do is rush Baldwin. This was above all an investment for the future.

RELATED: NBA Draft Figures: Baldwin Jr. with high potential is worth the risk for Dubs

Going into the draft, the Warriors had a pretty set plan to take on the best player available. They had Baldwin much higher than number 28 on their big board, and Myers said their newest rookie has had fans in the building for a while now. Talking about basketball and getting to know him only added to that fandom.

There are risks and even red flags with Baldwin. Highly touted prospects aren’t supposed to have the kind of college season he had. The last time the Warriors owned the number 28 pick, it worked out pretty well by adding Jordan Poole, another Milwaukee product. Choosing potential over immediate production was also the right choice for Jonathan Kuminga last year.

More than ever, the Warriors are fully investing in player development between the big roster and their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz. Baldwin is their latest experiment and they see themselves coming out on top with this bet.

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