The Golden State Warriors are barely more than a week removed from winning a fourth title in eight seasons, but it’s already time to look ahead. Here are full 2022 draft grades for the newly-minted NBA champions.
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Golden State Warriors 2022 NBA Draft Grades
No. 28: Patrick Baldwin Jr. — A-
Let’s get it out of the way right now: Baldwin isn’t a taller version of Klay Thompson, a comparison that was impossible to avoid from the early days of his nationally decorated prep career.
He shot an ugly 26.6% from the college three-point line last season, and that most of his attempts were forced or contested says almost as much about Baldwin’s underwhelming all-around athleticism as it does his outsized role on a bad team at Milwaukee. Thompson flashed his borderline elite prior defensive form as the Warriors suffocated the Boston Celtics in the last three games of the NBA Finals. Baldwin, on the other hand, was a minus defender in the Horizon League.
But Golden State doesn’t need another star, let alone expect to get one with a late first-round pick. Pretty much any consensus top-five recruit who enters the draft one year later is worth a high-risk flier, and disappointing as Baldwin’s much-hyped freshman season was, he was also limited to just 11 games by an ankle injury—one that apparently dogged him dating back to his senior year of high school.
Any team in the league could use a 6’9 forward with Baldwin’s clear high-level potential as a spot-up shooter. A naturally high release makes his jumper impossible to block, and also helps Baldwin get to his shot from awkward lower body angles. He could eventually be a mismatch threat by shooting over smalls from the block and pinch post.
But what really intrigues about Baldwin’s fit with the Warriors is just how many clean looks he’ll get as defenses pay full attention to Stephen Curry. And if those shots go down like his history prep career suggested, Baldwin will be yet another five-alarm shooting fire for Steve Kerr to deploy offensively.
Baldwin’s overall lack of suddenness and foot speed might make him such a defensive liability that he’s never more than a deep bench player. That possibility would make him a slight reach in the late first round for some teams, but not the champion Warriors.
No. 44: Ryan Rollins — A-
Golden State sent No. 51 and $2 million to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for the 44th overall pick and took Rollins, a late-blooming combo guard from Toledo.
The Warriors sent No. 51 and $2M to Hawks for Ryan Rollins at No. 44, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2022
He stuffed the stat sheet with 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season, earning First Team All-MAC honors after winning Freshman of the Year in 2020-21. At 6’4 with the wingspan of some bigs, Rollins’ herky-jerky handle presents a unique challenge to defenders. He scored from all three levels at Toledo, though needs to hone his jumper—31.7% career three-point shooting in college—before becoming the type of shooting threat that bends defenses.
Rollins’ ceiling is capped by his merely average athletic tools. His impressive length and relatively broad shoulders should help him compensate for that lacking quickness defensively, where he showed good instincts jumping passing lanes and consistent overall effort. Just 19, Rollins may not be a minus NBA defender with a couple years of physical growth.
Scouts and analysts like Rollins. He’s definitely a nice value pick at No. 44, and Golden State could stand to develop a young ball handler behind Curry and Jordan Poole.
What earns the Warriors extra plaudits for taking Rollins is the trade they made to get him. No franchise prints money like the Warriors, but there are plenty of billionaire owners who could’ve traded up in the second round for a player their front office valued. Good on Joe Lacob for continuing to spend after yet another title and record-setting payroll.
N0. 55: Gui Santos — B-
A 6’7 wing from Brazil, Santos initially declared for the 2021 draft but withdrew after working out for eight teams. He didn’t improve his stock the way some anticipated after another season in the Brazilian League with Minas, though showed intriguing capability as an offensive creator in a more primary offensive role.
Santos doesn’t have the off-dribble juice—let alone high-level ball handling skill—to run pick-and-roll consistently in the NBA, but is a smart decision-maker creating for himself and others with the ball. His jumper looks better than the 32.6% from three he shot last season, and is surely his biggest swing skill going forward. Santos will always be limited defensively by his lack of quick-twitch athleticism, ensuring he’s not a stopper. Still, his 7’1 wingspan and broad shoulders could keep him from eventually being an imminent target on that side of the ball.
Expect Santos to spend at least another year in Brazil. Athletic deficiencies might doom him to a deep bench role, but the Warriors could certainly do worse with a late second-rounder than a huge, 20-year-old forward with burgeoning ball skills and natural feel.