Wade Baldwin IV won't have to leave the state of Tennessee. The Memphis Grizzlies selected him with the 17th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Baldwin was a standout player in his two seasons at Vanderbilt, going from overlooked recruit to first round draft pick in two seasons. He led the Commodores in scoring and assists per game last season and earned a reputation as a fearless, strong defender who could lock down opponents behind the three-point line and alter their shots inside of it. Those tools, and his 6'4, 202-pound frame, made him one of the draft's most intriguing prospects.
The 20-year old is still a project, but he displayed strong instincts and the ability to do a little bit of everything in his two years under Kevin Stallings. He's a confident shooter from long range (42.2% over his NCAA career) and a solid passer from the point, but he may struggle to acclimate to the increased athleticism of the NBA. Baldwin struggled at times to create the space he needed to drive into the lane and finish at the rim, and instead could be forced into bad shots when help defenders rotated towards him. In order to be a starting point guard at the next level, he'll need to better identify those situations and pass his way to easy baskets instead.
Baldwin is the first Commodore to be drafted since John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli, and Jeffery Taylor were selected in the 2012 draft. He'll join a Grizzlies team that will likely need to replace starting point guard and 2016 free agent Mike Conley. With the rest of his new roster depleted at the point, there's a chance Baldwin starts immediately over in the River City.