Rockets News

Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Wade Baldwin

Feb 16, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) brings the ball up court during the first half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 16, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) brings the ball up court during the first half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the top Point Guard prospects for the 2016 NBA Draft, Wade Baldwin of Vanderbilt is likely out of reach for the Houston Rockets as most analysts see him going early in the first round. However his skills and potential makes him one of the most intriguing and desired prospects particularly for the Rockets who are currently short on the play making department.

Draft Prospect

Intro

Fast rising sophomore Wade Baldwin from Vanderbilt is an intriguing prospect. Seen as a natural leader, the point guard is by far one of the most physically gifted small players in the draft.

With a huge wingspan (6’11) and a good build with some development Baldwin could easily become one of the best two-way players of the league as the Vanderbilt project is also a talented shooter who managed close to a 40/40/80 shooting percentage in his sophomore year.

Specifics

(as per NBA Draft Combine)

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 202 lbs
  • Country: USA
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: 20
  • Reach: 8’4″
  • Wingspan: 6’11″
  • College or Pro League: Vanderbilt, Sophomore
  • Stat line: 33 Games, 14.1 Points Per Game, 4.0 Rebounds Per Game, 5.2 Assists Per Game, 1.2 Steals Per Game, 40.6 3P%, 42.7 FG%, 79.9 FT%

Current Rank

NBA Scott Howard-Coper: 18

Draft Express: 12

Bleacher Report: 14

Basketball Insiders: 17

The Skills

Most analysts report Wade Baldwin’s defensive skills as one of his best features. He is quick on his feet, able to guard taller players contesting their shots due to his ridiculous wingspan and has great lateral movement.

However Baldwin is also a great player leading the fastbreak as you can clearly see in his highlights below. He is resourceful and look to finish his plays from drives to the basket, attacking the rim, rather than settling for the long shot.

Awards and Honors

All-SEC Second Team (2016)

SEC All-Freshman Team (2015)

The Fit

The possibility of seeing a young talented point guard playing for the Rockets is too tempting. There is a big void in the Rockets PG department where Patrick Beverley reigns freely (even though he isn’t supposed to).

Therefore there is so much room for a player like Baldwin on the team: a floor general that can play both ends of the court. Offensively Baldwin plays fast and excels in transition exactly how the Texan team like and are used to playing. Defensively he is strong and able to defend two positions.

The fast pace and the ability to quickly finish his  plays would also fit beautifully with Houston Rockets and the system of their recently hired head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Final Thoughts

When everything is said and done as Wade Baldwin’s stock is rising fast, he could even become a top-14 first rounder.

For that reason it’s tough to imagine this player wearing the Rockets red jersey next year. Still as the Donatas Motiejunas voided trade showed us, Morey was desperately seeking a first round pick. That trade may very well have indicated he had his sights set on someone like Baldwin.

A 14-20 pick (where Baldwin is projected to land) could be easily achieved by draft night with a trade so it’s possible as the Rockets have some assets to give up.

Despite that I feel H-Town would be best served by picking the older and better prepared Gary Payton II in the second round of the draft at the end of the day.

Next: Complete list of 2016 -2017 Free Agents

Next: Rockets Fans Speak - the Series

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