The Indiana Pacers are back at the podium after selecting Keegan Murray fifth overall, and with the 19th overall pick, they select Patrick Baldwin Jr.
When I noted that the Pacers were comfortable with making a safer pick with their lottery pick, this is precisely why. Assuming their second 1st round pick stays around the late teens to early twenties, I expect the Pacers to have a few options to pick from that are considered “high upside” picks despite possibly having a down year and/or needing another year in college.
There’s a significant chance that a team will take a flyer on Patrick Baldwin Jr. earlier on in the draft, but considering the tumultuous season he had with his father at Milwaukee, there’s just as good of a chance that he takes a big slide. Baldwin was thought to be a consensus high lottery pick early on in the season and was advertised as a Klay Thompson-like shooter at 6’10”, but ultimately ended his own season early after a poor showing in just about every department.
To be fair to Baldwin, he was in a very poor situation in Milwaukee on a team that completely lacked NBA talent (let alone high-level NCAA talent) and Synergy statistics suggest he had very few open shot attempts over the course of his season. While his defense, motor, and perhaps even his attitude will be a concern at the next level, if he can tap into his offensive potential that he showed in his FIBA U19 games, he could be a very good, albeit risky high-upside pick in the late first round.
A few other names I could see the Pacers being interested in with this pick are Jaden Hardy, Malakai Branham, Bryce McGowens, Max Christie, and Blake Wesley.