Wade Baldwin IV, PG, Sophomore, Vanderbilt
Weight: 201.8 lbs
Standing Reach: 8’4″
Max Vert: 38.0″
Sophomore Year Stats
14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 40.6 3FG%
Wade Baldwin was given national recognition at the Draft Combine after he showed tremendous physical attributes and athleticism. The past year was a somewhat disappointing one at Vanderbilt, and the Commodores finished 19-12 before losing the play-in of the NCAA Tournament to Wichita State. Baldwin, however, played well during his second year and showed some promise as an NBA player.
As a playmaker, he’s one of the best in SEC regarding getting his own and finding teammates. His 5.2 assists per game were third in the conference, but he was the only SEC player to shoot greater than 40% from three and average five or more assists per game. Out of the pick-and-roll, his height gives him the advantage of looking over the defense and leading his teammates to easy buckets.
When he’s shooting oriented, the catch-and-shoot is when he’s at his best and Vandy does a great job running him off screens.
Although he’s a capable offensive player, most of Baldwin’s potential is on the defensive end of the floor. Long arms, good height, and a solid, athletic frame are all the tools Wade needs to be a stellar defender at the next level. On the sequence below, watch Baldwin gamble and double-team Jalen Jones on the block. He’s athletic enough to recover and close out on Anthony Collins on the opposite wing. Collins, who had a good look at the rim and is a 45% shooter, is forced middle, and it leads to a shot clock violation.
Obviously, one play doesn’t define the entirety of his defensive ability, but it’s a small sampling of his potential.
Outside of being a knockdown three-point shooter, Baldwin struggles on offense. On two-point field goal attempts, his percentage is a tick under 44 which is not good at all. A lot of his problems stem from his inability to create off the dribble, thus being easier to guard because defenders are focused on his three-point shot. Though he possesses superb athleticism, his explosiveness on offense wouldn’t show it. He’s generally in one gear and doesn’t change pace too well, a skill that all of the league’s most dominant guards have. Take the play below, for instance. He gets to the bucket but watch how his crossover just changes direction and not speed.
It’s entirely possible that Baldwin gets selected in the mid-first round. It’s also entirely possible that he slips and gets taken later. If I’m a GM or owner picking from number 15 or lower, I will draft Baldwin with confidence that he can make an immediate impact on the defensive end of the ball for my team. It’ll be a few years until his total offensive game develops, but that shouldn’t hinder any organizations because he has other skills on offense to supplement that.