2022 NBA Draft: Warriors take Patrick Baldwin Jr. with first-round pick

SAN FRANCISCO — While some of the Warriors are still celebrating the NBA title they won a week ago, Golden State officials have turned their attention to what’s in store for them.

The Warriors added future prospects with a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, selecting 19-year-old guard/forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. 28th overall.

A high school star, Baldwin’s freshman season at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was cut short due to an ankle injury. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 11 games.

President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers said Wednesday they will select the best player available. By the time the Warriors were on the clock around 7:45 p.m., Baldwin was their boyfriend.

At 6’9″, Baldwin represents a high-risk, high-reward potential selection. He didn’t take part in physical testing for the NBA draft in Chicago last month and his ankle appeared to be in the way. He recorded the second highest vertical jump among those tested, with a height of 23.5 inches.

Before his only college season was marred by a recurring ankle injury, Baldwin was a top-five recruit after high school. The Sussex, Wisconsin native was considered an elite ballplayer and excellent shooter with lottery pick potential. He was a 2021 McDonald’s All-American and was named the 2020 Gatorade Wisconsin Player of the Year after leading Hamilton High School to a 22-3 record while averaging 24.3 points and 10.8 rebounds as a junior.

Baldwin had offers for many leading programs, including Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina. But in the end, he decided to go to Wisconsin-Milwaukee from the Horizon League to play for his father.

Baldwin appeared to live up to his early season expectations with the school’s first double-double by a freshman since 2008 in his 21-point, 11-rebound debut against North Dakota. But then his ankle betrayed him and hindered him for the rest of the season.

With their fourth NBA title in eight years, the Warriors are one of the first favorites to be champions again and stay in winning mode now and develop talent for the future. Baldwin cannot be relied upon to have a major immediate impact. He joins lottery picks James Wiseman (21), Jonathan Cuming (19) and Moses Moody (20) as part of the next generation of Warriors.

Baldwin is the Warriors’ third No. 28 in five years.

Golden State drafted defenseman Jordan Poole from Michigan in 2019. It was not an immediate hit as Pool fell behind in his first two seasons as he struggled to adjust to the transition from college ball to the NBA. After being relegated to the G-League last season, Poole flared up this season to become a key supporting actor on the Warriors’ title-winning team.

Meanwhile, the Warriors’ decision to remove defenseman Jacob Evans III from Cincinnati in 2018 proved to be a mistake. He was involved in a trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and a pick that turned into Cuminga. Evans played in the G-League last season with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Myers and his team are not finished yet. The Warriors hold the 51st and 55th picks in the second round. Golden State may trade this choice for future assets or cash.

This is an evolving story. Keep for updates.

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