Kings take a look at possible No. 8 overall draft pick
For the past two weeks, Wade Baldwin hadn’t seen or done much of anything.
That wasn’t the plan for the point guard from Vanderbilt. But since taking a forearm to the head during a predraft workout in Phoenix last month, he’s dealt with concussion symptoms.
Baldwin was back working out Wednesday as the highest-ranked prospect the Kings have hosted leading to next Thursday’s NBA draft.
The Kings are in the market for a point guard, as seems to be the case every offseason. With the eighth pick in the first round, Sacramento could take a point guard for the first time since drafting Isaiah Thomas in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft.
In Baldwin, the Kings would get a player who entered college without much fanfare, but has proven to be an NBA prospect after two seasons at Vanderbilt.
“Coming out of (St. Joseph, Metuchen, N.J.,) high school I wasn’t even a top-100 player,” Baldwin said. “In two years I’m projected to be a lottery pick. That’s pretty crazy.”
The 6-foot-3, 194-pound Baldwin averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals as a sophomore for the Commodores. He was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.
The Kings’ roster uncertainty and their inattention to the position in recent drafts make point guard a priority.
Rajon Rondo is a free agent expected to pursue opportunities with winning teams unless Sacramento shows a drastic shift in the losing culture that has led to 10 consecutive years of missing the playoffs.
Seth Curry can play either guard spot, but will decline his player option for next season and test free agency. The Kings can make Curry a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer.
Darren Collison, who started 15 games at point, is in the last year of his three-year contract, but depending on the outcome of his felony domestic violence case, he could face league discipline and miss games.
Baldwin’s size and reputation as an aggressive defender offer things the Kings have lacked consistently at the point.
He said he hasn’t kept tabs on what draft pundits say about him, but he expects to be selected in the lottery or just outside of the top 14.
Still, that hasn’t made staying indoors while recovering from a concussion easy.
“(I was) very anxious, but from what I’ve been told, in my position there’s not too much to worry about,” Baldwin said. “I think I have a good track record of what I did in college, the combine, my measurements, but it’s important to get out and have these teams see me.”
Baldwin led the Commodores to a 19-14 record; they lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Wichita State.
Since leaving school early for the draft, Baldwin said he’s seen his value steadily rise with NBA teams, so he believes he’s a viable option for the Kings. Baldwin said his next workout is with Milwaukee, which owns the 10th pick in the draft.
“Everybody’s loved me and coming into this process back at Vanderbilt, I wasn’t projected to be a lottery guy,” Baldwin said. “I was about the mid-20s, high teens, and I’ve just launched myself. I’m here working out for a team as a priority for them; they have the eighth pick in the draft, top-10 pick, and I’m just grateful to be out here.”
Kings’ key dates
- NBA draft: June 23; Kings have No. 8 pick
- Summer league: July 8-18, Las Vegas