USA Today: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Milwaukee
Patrick Baldwin Jr. ranks as one of the most intriguing players in the NBA Draft despite him having a poor season playing for a bad Wisconsin-Milwaukee team and seeing his draft stock drop. He's even been projected to 8th, according to USA Today, in spite of his obvious talent, which would mean that San Antonio could have a chance to draft him.
Baldwin Jr. flashes impressive offensive skill and has a potentially high-ceiling, especially considering that he’s a 6-10 perimeter player. Much of his offensive game is reliant on 3-point shooting but he's only hitting 31.9% of his 5.9 attempts per game. Still, he seems poised to be a good shooter in the NBA.
Just the fact that he’s taking so many implies that he’s a good shooter or at least a confident one. He’s already had a game in which he hit six threes in his short 8-game college career and is hitting 74% of his free throws, suggesting that he has good shooting touch.
He isn’t just a spot-up shooter. Baldwin can get open by running off screens or even shooting off the dribble. Moreover, he has advanced dribble moves that allow him to get into the paint easily where he can use his length and size to shoot over defenders.
Defensively, he has the tools to be a good defender but the effort isn’t always there. Despite that, he’s averaging nearly one block and one steal per game, in just 27.4 minutes, and is capable of swatting shots at the rim and forcing turnovers when guarding away from the basket.
All of that is certainly enticing, and I could actually see the Spurs taking him as a swing-for-the-fences type of pick. As far as fit, he has the size needed to play the four but would also add some offensive firepower as a shooter who can also create for himself off the dribble. Ultimately, he's far from as safe a bet as Murray, but he likely has a higher ceiling.
All in all, there are a number of interesting players in this draft, including Murray, Baldwin Jr, and
Brown. It's no coincidence that all three prospects are power forwards and that happens to be the Spurs' weakest position.
It underscores the need for a talent upgrade and finding a player who can step in and help fill the position. Of the three players mocked to go to the Spurs, Murray seems to be the best suited and could even start next season, allowing Keldon Johnson to slide down and play his natural position.
There are other great prospects expected to go ahead of these three players but a lot will depend on where the Spurs finish the season. In the meantime, it's safe to say that they will have several interesting options to choose from in the 2022 NBA Draft.