The Golden State Warriors have high hopes for rookie wing Patrick Baldwin Jr. The team’s 28th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft has been an early standout in the Dubs two preseason games, recording 19 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block in 25 minutes played on .600/.625/1.000 shooting. It seems from a recent quote by Warriors veteran Kevon Looney that Baldwin has been equally impressive behind the scenes as well.
“His feel for the game is really high,” Looney said about Baldwin in a press conference during Golden State’s trip to Japan. “Him being a rookie and not even playing a lot of college games, for him to have that feel already; he already knows where to be at. He picks up on everything really fast. That’s something you need to be on this team.”
The Warriors complex offensive and defensive schemes have been a consistent speed bump for some players under head coach Steve Kerr. Several young players, and even some proven veterans, have just been unable to ever be comfortable in Golden State’s system. The fact that Baldwin is already catching Looney’s eye for his ability to pick up the nuances of what the Warriors coaching staff wants him to do is an amazing sign of the 19-year-old’s potential.
With that said, Baldwin is not currently expected to play a prominent role with the Warriors this season. While he was once considered a consensus top-five prospect in the 2021 high school class, Baldwin dealt with injuries and struggled mightily in his lone collegiate season at Milwaukee. It would be a tall task for him to bounce back from that to be a key role player with Golden State. However, Looney thinks there’s reason to believe Baldwin will exceed expectations.
“He is a high-IQ player,” Looney said about Baldwin. “I know Steve loves guys like that. He’ll probably find his way onto the court somehow. It is going to be a lot of work. There is a lot of talent at the position but the way he shoots it and his feel for the game, he is already taking a step in the right direction.”