2016 NBA Draft: Wade Baldwin IV

Mar 15, 2016; Dayton, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Wichita State Shockers of First Four of the NCAA men
Mar 15, 2016; Dayton, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Wichita State Shockers of First Four of the NCAA men /

Throughout the Tom Thibodeau era in Chicago, the Bulls have looked to smaller veteran guards to handle the load with Derrick Rose out for long periods of time. Could someone (with good size) like Vanderbilt guard Wade Baldwin IV become the next starting lead guard for the Bulls?

When Wade Baldwin IV was measured at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and you saw the final numbers, you probably thought, “OK, 6’2.5″, 202 pounds … that’s good size for a future floor general in the NBA.”

And then, his wingspan measurement was announced.

In shoes, Baldwin is 6’4″ with a 6’11.25″(!!) wingspan, an 8’4″ standing reach and a 38″ vertical leap.

Just off his measureables, now you’re thinking, “OK, we may have something here.”

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The 20-year-old Baldwin played two seasons for former Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings and the Commodores. During his sophomore season with the Commodores, Baldwin averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists (third in the Southeastern Conference last season) and grabbed four rebounds per game.

Baldwin’s not the most explosive athlete in the class by any stretch, but in terms of shooting, he’s a good one. During his two seasons in college, Baldwin shot 199 three-pointers and connected on 40.6 percent of those attempts (per DraftExpress).

DX also noted that he’s a more comfortable shooter off a catch than off the dribble, and from what I personally saw of Baldwin this season, that’s an accurate description of his shooting.

A play that I found that showed Baldwin’s ability to stroke from long range was in an early-season meeting with the Baylor Bears last season. Baylor came out in a 1-3-1 zone defensively, which was implemented to keep Vandy’s duo of Luke Kornet and NBA prospect Damian Jones from roaming free inside the arc.

Jones did a good job of finding Baldwin back up top after receiving a pass on the baseline and Baldwin showed his ability to shoot off the catch and drain the triple on their opening possession of the game.

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Something that’s noticeable with Baldwin: He does have much elevation on his shot, meaning that he doesn’t utilize his legs as much as other perimeter shooters do (a la someone like Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton). But, when you have almost a seven-foot wingspan as a 6’4″ guard (in shoes), you can shoot over smaller defenders and defenders closing out late.

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An offensive aspect where Baldwin’s length comes into play on the offensive end is when he attacks the basket. Per Synergy Sports, Baldwin only shot 38 percent from the field in half-court shots at the rim, but he attempted 7.7 free throws per 40 minutes (with the pace adjusted).

The latter is the key there.

He has a good, strong frame for a 20-year-old and with that length comes some potential not only offensively, but defensively.

NBA decision makers love kids that can guard multiple positions. With Baldwin’s size and length, he’s a viable contender to become a legitimate two-player defender (and could probably guard more wings at the three with time and experience).

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In terms of gauging where Baldwin could land, most of the mock draft makers have him just outside the lottery (in the 17-20 range of the first round). He’s a first-round talent that has a great frame and the upside to become a valuable offensive player with his shooting at the next level.