The Black & Gold Standard is a VandyRadio sports blog featuring nuanced commentary and advanced statistical breakdowns following Vanderbilt men’s basketball games and throughout the year. Robbie Weinstein of The Homefield Advantage will be bringing you the best analysis of Commodore basketball as the team looks to build on the success of last season’s NIT appearance. Check out The Black & Gold Standard for all kinds of new content as the Dores fight through the 2015-16 schedule. All stats courtesy of KenPom.com unless otherwise noted.
After a thoroughly unsatisfying season followed by a decisive and hope-inspiring coaching search, Vanderbilt moves into the offseason needing to replace a pair of stars. Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones unsurprisingly opted to put their respective names in the 2016 NBA Draft, and each decided to stay in the draft for good by hiring an agent. Now that the NBA Draft combine is over with, it seems appropriate to break down potential teams that Damian and Wade might fit best with. In terms of fit, I’m concerned with both how each player’s skills match what a team needs (i.e. shooting or shot blocking), as well as the quantity and quality of players a team returns for next season. Since free agency won’t occur until after the June 23 Draft, some of these fits are difficult to project — I don’t have any non-public information about which players may retire or head to another team, so I’ll be making some assumptions regarding team personnel changes. NBA teams generally draft based on a “Best Player Available” strategy, but even though a team not on this list could certainly end up taking Damian or Wade, I’ve highlighted the teams with the biggest need for the two. Please note that due to potential weirdness with measurements at the combine, reported standing reach and vertical leap numbers are subject to error. You can find all combine measurements here, and you can find Damian’s half of the series here.
Wade Baldwin IV
Relevant measurements: 6’4” in shoes and 201.8 pounds, 6’11.25” wingspan, 8’4” standing reach, 38” max vert
The Nets have given away basically every pick they ever had, but they represent one of Wade’s best fits if they can find a way to trade for a first-round pick. Jarrett Jack isn’t even close to a long-term solution at point guard, and he’s recovering from a torn ACL. Brooklyn’s backup options are disappointing youngster Shane Larkin and journeyman Donald Sloan. Wade would get a ton of minutes with the Nets, but Brooklyn likely would have to give up Brook Lopez or Thad Young in order to acquire a pick in Wade’s range.
Somewhere in the vast expanses of the tri-state area, VandyRadio Assistant Sports Director Cutler Klein is getting excited reading this. System-wise, Wade fits in great with team President Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, as he wouldn’t be relied upon to make plays off the dribble and is a good three-point shooter. Like their NYC brethren, the Knicks have given away most of their picks, to the point where they don’t actually have a selection this season. ESPN New York’s Ian Begley has reported the Knicks plan to trade for a pick, but Wade would probably have to suffer a substantial slide for this pairing to happen. New York picked another point guard, Jerian Grant, next season, but the fit is still fine since both Grant and Wade have the size needed to play both guard spots.
If our assistant sports director likes the previous entry, our actual Sports Director Max Herz will love this one. As future Hall-of-Famer Steve Blake potentially rides off into the sunset, the Pistons are in the market for the successor to Steve’s throne. Wade fits the bill, and the Pistons’ No. 18 pick is right on the edge of Wade Territory™. Detroit is clearly interested in Wade and other point guard prospects, per Pistons.com beat writer Keith Langlois—so while the relative lack of playing time for Wade compared to what he might see in Brooklyn and New York places the Pistons a bit lower on this list, this is Wade’s most likely landing spot if Chicago passes on him.
I can only imagine Wade learning under noted antagonist Patrick Beverly and teaming together to hand check Stephen Curry into oblivion; this is an “interesting” cultural fit. Everyone knows the Rockets have chemistry issues, and it’s unclear if they’d want to add an outspoken personality like Wade to the mix. The three-point shooting and defensive upside, however, are exactly what Houston wants. General manager Daryl Morey doesn’t have a first-round pick this year, so this won’t happen without a trade.
There are all kinds of VandyRadio connections to the teams in Wade’s half of the breakdown: former Station Manager Jon Martz and No. 1 fan Patrick Howard can’t wait to see Wade on the Bulls. Derrick Rose doesn’t look like an above average starting point guard anymore, and Chicago needs a backup regardless. Wade could step in and play about 16-20 minutes per game, and possibly more if Rose goes down with another injury. As ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported (via CBSSports.com’s Matt Moore), the Bulls are pretty dysfunctional, leaving questions as to how Wade would fit in the locker room with Jimmy Butler. Similarly, the Bulls’ front office has a long held a reputation of being difficult to work with, going back to Michael Jordan’s time as a player. It’s one thing for the laid-back Damian Jones to go to Chicago; Wade is much more vocal and less neutral of a personality. This is a great basketball fit, but otherwise? Eh. The Bulls will probably have a lot of options at 14, but Wade will certainly be one of the main ones, if he’s still available.
Whether or not Mike Conley returns in free agency, the Grizzlies need shooters and ball handlers, as well as a backup point guard. Picking at No. 17, Memphis (along with Chicago) probably represents the team most likely to keep Wade from falling to Detroit. Wade’s defensive abilities fit well with the way the Grizzlies have built their team, and he’d probably play at least 14-18 minutes per game immediately. Conley turns 29 years old in October, and Memphis is trending downward as a team, so it makes sense that the Grizzlies’ front office would prefer to draft a point guard rather than finding a high-quality backup in free agency. Multiple media reports, primarily from The Vertical, suggest Memphis promised Syracuse’s Malachi Richardson, so that certainly decreases the likelihood Wade will land here.
With a number of point guards on their roster, the Jazz don’t look like the most natural fit for Wade at first. The problem for Utah, however, is that none of those point guards have proven themselves as legitimate starters. Since most NBA teams draft based on the aforementioned “best player available” strategy, with positional need as a tiebreaker, so the Jazz certainly could opt to take Wade at No. 12 and swing a trade involving one of its other point guards soon after. Wade would get the chance to play anywhere from about 12-24 minutes per game on a playoff contender, and he’d get ample opportunities to prove himself as Utah continues to search for its long-term point guard.
The Kings have been trying to fill their hole at shooting guard for years, but with Rajon Rondo hitting free agency, they might need to address point guard this year instead. Darren Collison has played both guard spots during his time in Sacramento, but his recent run-in with the law could put his future with the team in doubt. Even if Collison is back, the Kings need a young point guard badly. If Kris Dunn doesn’t fall to Shaqramento at No. 8, could they go off the board in typical Kings style and reach for Wade? That sounds to me like something they would do.
Dennis Schröder does provide the Hawks with some youth at point guard, but a possible Jeff Teague trade would open up another spot in the backcourt. Plus, I don’t see Schröder as a long-term starter, and I don’t know that too many Hawks fans do see him as one. Cleveland has shut down Atlanta’s offense the last two playoffs in part by letting Teague shoot (and miss) open threes, so an infusion of three-point shooting at the point could start the process of breaking that strategy if the two teams face off again in the future. If Teague is traded, Wade would probably get solid backup minutes over Kirk Hinrich. If not, I doubt Atlanta will pick any point guard. At No. 21, the Hawks aren’t especially likely to have Wade fall to them anyways.
After having dealt with point guard struggles for the last few years, the Bucks represent one of the three most likely landing spots for Wade in the entire draft, along with Utah and Chicago. Milwaukee could play Wade alongside either Michael Carter-Williams or Jarryd Bayless, or it could opt to give him heavier minutes by moving one of the two via trade. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on the Lowe Post that the Bucks are likely to go after Matthew Dellavedova in restricted free agency, but Delly’s poor playoff run could scare them off. If so, Wade becomes an even more likely option at No. 10.
A quick search of Twitter can find you all the Kris Dunn-to-Philadelphia trade rumors you could ever need, and it’s clear the Sixers could use an upgrade at point guard. Wade’s three-point shooting and ability to play off the ball would fit well with the lack of shooting Philadelphia has in the frontcourt, and the Sixers have plenty of future draft picks to fall back on in case Wade ends up being a better long-term fit at the 2 than the 1.
The Clippers could really use a good backup point guard behind Chris Paul, although they don’t pick until 25. If Wade somehow falls that far, it’d be hard to see LA passing on him. This might not be the best fit for Wade due to the potential for a short leash and lack of major playing time, but he wouldn’t be asked to do too much and could ease his way into the league.
The Mavs have one of the worst forward-looking point guard situations of any team in the league; Dallas has a number of capable options now in Deron Williams, Devin Harris, J.J. Barea, and Raymond Felton, but all of those guys are 31 or older. It’s unclear whether Wade would get any minutes here unless Dallas trades one or more of those four, but he could be the Mavs’ future at point guard if they can trade into the first round.
The Pelicans have basically nothing at point guard behind the often-injured Jrue Holiday, and they need versatile shooters around Anthony Davis. Wade would likely get plenty of minutes in New Orleans, and playing with a superstar such as Davis could make things a lot easier for Wade on offense as he adjusts to a new level of play. I would imagine that this match would require a trade, as it’s hard to see the Pels taking Wade at No. 6.
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