The Memphis Grizzlies selected point guard Wade Baldwin out of Vanderbilt with the 17th pick in the draft. With starting point guard Mike Conley set to hit free agency, the Grizzlies could be setting up Baldwin to be a possible replacement should Conley sign elsewhere.
Baldwin comes into Memphis after playing two seasons at Vanderbilt. During his sophomore season, he averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists, four rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. He was an excellent three-point shooter, as he knocked down 41 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Adding Baldwin solves a couple of needs for the Grizzlies as it gives them a shooter and it also adds some youth to the lineup. The Grizzlies had a core of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Conley, Lance Stephenson, Brandan Wright, Tony Allen, Chris Andersen, Vince Carter and Matt Barnes among others. As things stand currently, the Grizzlies will have seven players guaranteed on the roster for next season with Baldwin.
The Grizzlies ranked 27th in the league last season with just 6.1 three-point makes per game. In addition, they ranked 29th in three-point percentage at just 33 percent. After shooting 41 percent from three-point range last season, Baldwin shot 44 percent from three-point during his freshman year at Vanderbilt. He figures to give them a much-needed shooting boost in a time when teams are beginning to shoot the three-point shot significantly more.
Baldwin will also give the Grizzlies a capable defender against opposing point guards. He measured at 6’4 last month at the draft combine and boasts a 6’11 wingspan. He size, quickness and length gives him the opportunity to guard a couple of positions, which will give the Grizzlies some versatility defensively.
By all accounts, it seems as though drafting Baldwin will be a great fit in Memphis. With an aging roster and several players set to hit free agency, adding a young player in Baldwin will be a welcomed sign for the Grizzlies.
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