The Denver Nuggets should avoid Patrick Baldwin Jr. at 30 in the 2022 NBA Draft
Patrick Baldwin Jr. is a 6’9” small forward with a deadly long-range game and elite playmaking ability. At one point, he was even the No. 1-ranked player is his class, receiving offers from major D-1 schools around the country, including Duke, UNC, Kentucky and UCLA. He’s also projected to get drafted somewhere between the end of the first round and the beginning of the second round.
So, then why would the Nuggets pass on him if he’s available at 30? Well, outside of the fact that he chose to play at a smaller school (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) simply because his dad was the coach. Only to then average 12 points per game on inefficient shooting numbers, against inferior competition, nevertheless. He also has a less then desirable history with injuries.
After declining offers from various other top tier programs around the nation, Baldwin suffered a season-ending ankle injury right before his final senior year of high school, which dropped him down to No. 8 in the class of 2021. Although, the worst part is that his ankle never fully recovered during his time at Milwaukee.
Between the ankle injury and Baldwin claiming he had a “severe” encounter with COVID-19, he was limited to just 11 games in his time with the Panthers. Even in the games he played, he tallied together just two 20-point performances (against Robert Morris and North Dakota, respectively), and finished the season with brutal .344/.266/.743 shooting splits.
Sure, he’s a talented prospect with the potential to become a deadly three-level scorer, but even if he can stay healthy, he’s going to take time to develop physically before he can play in the NBA. Which would be of no use for the Denver Nuggets, who are looking for somebody that can contribute (preferably on defense) right away.