SAITAMA, Japan — The Warriors’ two preseason games gave a glimpse of the potential of Patrick Baldwin Jr., who was selected in the 2022 first round after missing the Summer League with an ankle injury.
Baldwin showed great place awareness and solid decision making in both games.
After scoring seven points on 2-of-3 shooting in eight minutes on his debut on Friday, Baldwin was even more impressive on Sunday.
A highlight of his came in the fourth quarter when he intercepted a Wizards pass and threw the ball to Mac McClung, who brought it home with a fast break dunk. Baldwin finished the game with 12 points, going 4-on-5 from deep and having six rebounds.
“He was great,” said coach Steve Kerr after the NBA Japan Games Finals. “He’s a really good basketball player. He understands the game, you can see that in his flow, his moments, his shooting, his passing… He just gets it, he has a really good feeling.”
Kerr didn’t know what to expect from Baldwin heading into training camp.
Baldwin has been limited for the last two seasons due to an ankle injury. He was a top recruit out of high school but chose to play for his father at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee rather than attend a larger program. He played there for just 11 years before being shut down, focusing on the upcoming NBA draft as his injury persisted.
Baldwin said his ankle was about 95% healed when the Warriors picked him 28th overall. He was not cleared for the summer league but gradually increased his workload that summer in preparation for training camp. And now he said he was “confident” in his ankle.
In the weeks that Kerr was away from the team’s training facility, he heard rumors about how good the 19-year-old could be.
“By the end of the summer, all the coaches who worked with him when I was out of town were raving about him,” he said. “They prepared me for it and said that this guy has a good feeling and is a really good fit for us.”
But just last week, Kerr got to see for himself the promise Baldwin holds.
His early assessment of the rookie?
“I’m very impressed,” Kerr said.
Kerr was also pleased with the team’s brave performance in the fourth quarter, in which the Warriors bench outplayed the Wizards 30-10. McClung, here on a training camp contract, scored all of his nine points in the final 12 minutes and went 4-for-6 from the field. Baldwin added six to give Golden State its second win of the preseason.
“Coming out of here and taking a win and beating them 30-10 in the fourth quarter I think that’s a step in the right direction for us,” Baldwin said before boarding a bus to the airport. “And being part of that group is pretty cool and just gives us more confidence going forward.”