The Grizzlies selected Vanderbilt point guard Wade Baldwin IV with the No. 17 pick of the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
Baldwin spent two years at Vanderbilt, where he averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game during his sophomore season. He shot over 40% from three in each of his two college seasons.
This past season, Baldwin led the Commodores to their first NCAA tournament appearance in four years as he led the team in points, assists, steals and minutes played.
Strengths: Baldwin’s size makes him an enticing defensive weapon. His ability to make up ground quickly with his 6’11” arms makes life brutal on smaller guards. His length also affords him a sweeping stride that he uses to knife to the basket with a purpose in transition. He shot over 40% from three-point range in both of his college seasons and has a good feel for getting himself open looks off the ball.
Weaknesses: The testiness that makes Baldwin so valuable in dogfights can backfire when he’s off his game, leading him to force the issue and commit mental errors. His inconsistent effort is frustrating coming from a player who has shown that he’s wired to feed off the energy of the building, whether positive or negative. He doesn’t have the quickness or the arsenal of moves to create his own shot in isolation, especially when matched up against above-average defenders.
Grade: A. Memphis probably just got the grittiest, grindiest player in the draft. This is a terrific fit. Whether Mike Conley returns or not, Baldwin’s ability to play both guard spots will be a help. His impressive physical tools make him a pretty good bet to be a great NBA defender. Offensively, he will have some development to do, but he makes for a nice value pick here for the Grizzlies. He can learn from Tony Allen. Can we be the first to dub him the Grind-son?