Finding Value in the 2016 NBA Draft: Wade Baldwin and Kris Dunn Are Eerily Similar
If you caught the first installment of this series, you get the point: target a player whose production is similar to that of a more coveted prospect in order to gain value in the draft.
If you know that, then you also know that I've already touched on how Tyler Ulis is basically a shorter Kris Dunn. And, as you can see from the title above, I'm going to compare another point guard prospect to Dunn once again.
For the record, this is absolutely no knock on Dunn and his talents and potential. I think he's going to be a great player in the NBA, and I even wrote an article about him and his amazing set of skills last year. He's a top-five prospect and will, without a doubt, be picked in the top five in the upcoming draft.
But this isn't really about Dunn. Regardless of how promising he is as a prospect, others at his position are going overlooked by scouts and teams as a result.
One of those players in the shadow of Dunn is Wade Baldwin IV.
Baldwin played two seasons as a combo-guard at Vanderbilt University, where he showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2.
Not only did the 20-year-old produce at a higher level -- averaging nearly five more points per game from his Freshman to Sophomore season -- but, even with the added Usage (25.3%) typical of a Sophomore guard, he also reduced his Turnover Percentage by 1.3% and added to his Assist Percentage by 2.5%.
It's not all about improvement for Baldwin, though. He's been really consistent in his short time with the Commodores.
|Year||Off. WS||Def. WS||WS||WS/40|
Baldwin has also managed to produce at least 6.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds per 40 minutes in each of his two seasons, finishing up his last campaign with 6.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds per 40 minutes of action.
Who else has produced those kinds of numbers?
None other than Kris Dunn.
That's right. Last year, Dunn put up 19.9 points, 7.6 assists and 6.5 rebounds per 40, therefore, outproducing Baldwin by 1.3 points, 0.7 assists and 1.2 rebounds on a per-40 basis.
And if that doesn't clearly display the similarity between the two, how about the fact that Dunn earned 4.8 and 4.5 Win Shares over his last two seasons, respectively.
So, in terms of numbers, what does separate these two?
What it basically boils down to is shooting and defense.
On one side, Dunn has posted an average Defensive Rating of 94.5 over his last two seasons -- a figure which is 3.5 points better than that of Baldwin's 98.0 over his two seasons at Vanderbilt.
The former Friar also amassed 1.1 more Defensive Win Shares and 82 more steals over the course of the past two seasons. It's clear that he's the best defensive point guard coming out this season. But the same can't be said for his shooting.
Now, at first glance, you'd think that Dunn is the better shooter (at least, based off of last year's numbers). Surprisingly, that isn't the case.
Baldwin may have a worse field goal and Effective Field Goal Percentage but, as his True Shooting Percentage indicates, he's far superior from the perimeter and from the free throw line.
Baldwin finished his Sophomore year shooting 40.6% from three and 79.9% from the free-throw line while also shooting threes at a rate of 32% and free throws at a rate of 61.4%. He got to the three-point line and free-throw line with frequency and converted with efficiency.
Dunn, on the other hand, wasn't too shabby from three, converting at a rate of 37.2% from beyond the arc, but did so at a rate of 27.5%. He didn't aim to shoot the ball from deep nor did he shot nearly as well as Baldwin. The same goes for the charity stripe, where he shot over 10% worse than Baldwin and did so substantially less (46.2% Free Throw Attempt Rate).
It's clear that Baldwin is a well-rounded producer and a better shooter, but what bothers me is that he's the same size as Dunn. And, when it comes to defense, he hasn't been much worse after all is said and done.
It's hard for me to wrap my head around the difference in many rankings between the two players. A team between picks 15 and 20 should be elated if Baldwin goes where he's expected.
The numbers argue that Baldwin is a top-10 talent like the comparable Dunn, so if I was a Memphis team who could potentially lose Mike Conley to free agency, I'd be targeting Baldwin and the value that he carries coming into this year's draft.