(First posted at RealGM.)
Baldwin is, in many ways, a very similar player to Dunn but since he is two years younger, lots of people consider him a more appealing prospect.
The 20-year-old also has incredible size for the position, even playing some of his freshman year as an off guard. Much like Dunn, Baldwin has the length (six-foot-11 wingspan), the strength (202-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-four height) and the lateral quickness to become an elite defender if the effort is present. That wasn’t the case at all times last season but when he was engaged, Baldwin impressed with his ability to navigate ball-screens and recover in time to contest mid-range jumpers or kick-out passes. That’s how his long arms make an impact on defense, as he didn’t post particularly impressive steal rates for someone with his length.
His combination of size and athleticism suggests Baldwin could become the sort of chess piece that provides optionality for his coach to have him guard wings around the perimeter but that isn’t the case yet since whenever he was asked to defend off the ball, Baldwin had lapses in focus that cost Vanderbilt in a few occasions. He does offer switch-ability, though, picking up Perry Ellis a couple of times in the game against Kansas and proving able to hold his ground in the post perfectly fine.
Offensively, Baldwin is also similar to Dunn in the matter of passing out of dribble penetration. Vanderbilt played a motion offense that often exhausted most of the shot clock through the high post without cracking an opening in the defense but Baldwin did have opportunities to create out of pick-and-roll and proved able to play with nice pace, keep his dribble alive, make the pocket pass and hit weak-side spot-up shooters – assisting on a third of Vanderbilt’s scores when he was on the floor last season.
Baldwin also has the exact same weakness as Dunn when he attempts to create for others; possessing a loose handle that makes him vulnerable to getting the ball stripped in traffic and misguidedly trying to thread the needle on some long-shot assist attempts – turning it over on almost a fifth of his team’s possessions when he ran offense.
But in terms of scoring areas, they are almost complete opposites.
Baldwin’s best method of putting points on the board is from the outside. His mechanics are a bit unorthodox, with the release point almost at forehead level, but he has proven able to nail catch-and-shoot jump-shots at an excellent rate – converting 42.2% of his 199 three-point shots over the last couple of seasons.
Baldwin is not as prolific making shots off the bounce, though, and there is concern that won’t be any sort of asset for him at the pro level, as he is not expected to generate the sort of separation he needs to get these mid-range jumpers off comfortably with his approach to shooting.
That’s the case because his athletic ability is a bit of a mixed bag. Baldwin can be pretty explosive in a straight line, attacking downhill in space, even flashing the ability to score at the basket with power. But he struggles to turn the corner out of the pick-and-roll at this point of his development, has not shown to be dynamic enough to go side-to-side to get by his man and even failed to burn opposing big men on switches.
At the rim, Baldwin has had trouble scoring against length, despite the fact he has flashed the ability to hang in the air and finish through contact at times – converting just 53% of his 188 shots at the basket over the last couple of seasons, per hoop-math. His safe heaven attacking the middle is that his frame invites contact, awarding him with 7.7 foul shots per 40 minutes last season, which he converted at an 80% clip.
A potential red flag for Baldwin regards his lack of production against high level competition. According to our database, in eight appearances against teams ranked in the Associated Press’ top 25, he averaged 16 points per 40 minutes on 37% shooting and posted a 1.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara