How Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins fit with Warriors

How Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins fit with Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO — A Hall of Fame core entering its mid-30s brought the Warriors another NBA title, but the Golden State roster also features a growing contingent of young players who will seek to stretch the team’s reign over the league.

On Friday, the Warriors introduced their newest draftees with some questions surrounding how they’ll juggle their young talent within this wide-open contention window.

Their top two picks, Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, are 19 years old, and late second-rounder Gui Santos is 20. Along with Jonathan Kuminga (19), Moses Moody (20) and James Wiseman (21), the Warriors are brimming with young talent with few roster spots to house them.

Where do the three new guys fit into this crucial time frame? In the big picture, a pathway to regular minutes in the rotation is there — Kuminga and Moody played important minutes during this title run — but the road may differ for each player. In this draft, Golden State took swings on high-upside players with some time and resources to develop and shape them.

Expect Baldwin to see plenty of time with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G-League affiliate that helped develop Jordan Poole and Moody. Rollins is likely to get lots of run in Santa Cruz, too.

“We didn’t draft players who are at the forefront of everybody’s mind in terms of watching college basketball,” president of basketball operations Bob Myers said on Thursday. “We invested a lot in our player development and we believe we can take talent and cultivate it.”

Baldwin, Myers said, is “one of those guys” the Warriors are excited to get their hands on. He may not have an immediate impact on the team, but he has the upside that the development staff hopes to bring out.

Standing 6-foot-9 with the ability to shoot from 3, Baldwin could project to be anywhere from a tall guard to a stretch big. But what stands out most with Baldwin is his IQ — Myers noted it was obvious Baldwin is the son of a basketball coach. With strong passing ability and feel, Baldwin could become a big point forward with playmaking abilities similar to Otto Porter Jr. and Kevon Looney in the vein of some of the NBA’s elite point forwards in Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green.

The Warriors have a long list of players that thrive off point forwards who can help create for them — Steph Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Moody and Kuminga, for starters.

But still unknown is whether Baldwin can reach his physical and athletic upside — something that went missing after his injuries.

The 19-year-old was a five-star recruit out of Hamilton High School outside Milwaukee — the top shooting forward recruit in the country out of the class of 2021. But he injured his ankle and calf during his senior year and turned down offers from Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky to play for his dad at mid-major University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He played a dismal 11 games with the Panthers in a season shortened by an ankle injury. His draft stock plummeted, opening the door for the Warriors to use their No. 28 pick on him as a low-risk, high-reward opportunity. Myers said Baldwin was much higher than 28 on their big board; plenty of people in the front office were big Baldwin fans.

But Baldwin is still not 100% healthy. He told the Warriors before the draft he “never really got it back” in college and felt he could have had a better season fully healthy.

“We believe that too, or we wouldn’t have drafted him,” Myers said.

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