Warriors' Patrick Baldwin Jr. learning through G League experience
The experience is helping Baldwin with the transition to the NBA.
Baldwin is averaging 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, one assist and one steal on 35% shooting from 3-point range with Santa Cruz. He is playing 25 minutes per game on average and has scored in double figures twice in the early going.
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins on Monday versus the New Orleans Pelicans, clearing the way for Baldwin to play. He responded by recording seven points, five rebounds and three steals in 15 minutes.
His time in the G League helped him in that outing.
Coming from college, I only played 11 games and my career is still pretty fresh. I only played five preseason games and only appeared in three regular-season games so the G League is about getting my feet wet, getting comfortable with NBA concepts, and NBA speed and physicality. I think some of that did carry into tonight.
The game plan for Baldwin and fellow rookie Ryan Rollins is simple: Get as many reps as possible. The organization just wants Baldwin and Rollins to practice and see game action at every opportunity they can, either in the G League or NBA.
“They just need reps. You can see it,” Steve Kerr said. “The game is happening pretty quickly out there. When the game is going fast, that tends to mean a lot of mistakes. The 28 turnovers (by the Warriors on Monday) were a sign of that. The only remedy for that is experience. Our guys just need reps and they need to play.”
The game was the first extended run for Baldwin with Golden State. He had logged only four minutes of work in two appearances prior to Monday so his seven points, five rebounds and three steals were the first official stats recorded in the NBA.
The Warriors have utilized their G League affiliate often in recent memory.
Players like Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have all played with Santa Cruz. Wiseman has even spent time there this season. They run the same system in Santa Cruz as with Golden State, which has helped the players learn.
Baldwin likes that things are very similar in the G League.
I think the only difference is the times when we do it. I’ll get my treatment in the morning. We’ll have practice, film and I’ll do breakdowns with my coaches. We’ll get our shots up and talk about the next day. It is very similar to how they run down there versus up here. I think it makes it easier for a lot of young guys to make it seamlessly transition back and forth.
Warriors president Bob Myers hinted at the start of the season that Baldwin and Rollins could spend time in the G League. The chance to play with Santa Cruz will help them continue to learn and improve with game experience and playing time.
The two players each understand what their season will entail and have bought into the plan. They view any chance to play as another opportunity to improve on the court.
“I think me and Ryan have done a great job of just keeping our heads down and working and taking advantage of every opportunity we have to step onto the court,” Baldwin said. “Eventually, it will pay off.”