Kamar Baldwin is a 6’1”, 190 lb. combo guard for the Butler Bulldogs. The crafty senior from just outside of Athens, Georgia will likely be on the radar of several NBA front offices entering the 2020 pre-Draft process. Baldwin, one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award honoring college basketball's best shooting guard, is averaging 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists on the season while playing ~31 minutes per contest. Throughout his career, Baldwin has been a staple of the Butler Bulldogs program, starting 119 of 131 possible games; a consistent starter since the midway point of his freshman season. While currently ranked outside the consensus top 100 prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft, Baldwin has a good frame, is ambidextrous, and seems to have the mentality/toughness to warrant considerable workouts and a potential shot at the NBA as an undrafted free agent.
Tale of the Tape
Kamar Baldwin is responsible for creating a vast majority of Butler's offense. He’s racked up a usage rate of 30.8% on the season and 26.4% throughout his entire career. Baldwin is a savvy, trustworthy lead guard who plays team-first basketball and, as such, his value only grows when surrounded by complementary scoring talent. With a lack of supreme offensive weapons around him this season at Butler, he’s been forced to force up a considerable amount of difficult looks, which has hampered his shooting splits compared to previous years.
His career-lows in both FG% and 3P% (41.3% and 30.6%, respectively) may be diminishing his surface-level draft stock. If you look past the efficiency statistics and dive into the tape, you see a poised, crafty, and determined leader at the point guard position that would likely thrive in different context. While Baldwin is registering career-lows in the shooting department, he’s posting a career-high 24.6% assist rate, and career-low 11.2% turnover rate. This speaks volumes to Baldwin’s ability to adapt his game, which is a crucial soft skill for seamless translatability to the pros.
In the clip below, we highlight Baldwin’s offensive arsenal.
One of the strongest aspects of Baldwin’s offensive game is his ability to score from all three levels. Unlike many smaller combo guards who default to hoisting threes and occasionally attacking wide-open driving lanes, Baldwin has found much of his success in the mid-range and in knifing into/through the paint. His poise and ability to slither through defenders, coupled with his superb elevation on his jumper allow him to create quality looks in the elbow-extended area. In fact, Baldwin ranks 10th in the country in points-per-possession (PPP) as a mid-range scorer (min. 35 attempts).
Another intriguing element within Baldwin's offensive repertoire is his rim-finishing acumen. His ambidexterity is key to this finishing versatility at the rim, as he's very comfortable using either hand and has a silky smooth touch as a finisher. Baldwin's lack of elite traditional speed/athleticism likely catalyzed his development as a crafty creator/finisher. His ball skills and feel for the game have seen tremendous growth throughout his career. Baldwin has grown into a very natural scorer and playmaker, all while still playing with purpose and a chip on his shoulder.
In the clip below, we highlight Baldwin’s crafty scoring.
Baldwin has been an accomplished offensive talent in college, but his defense should certainly not go unnoticed. Butler is traditionally a team with a defensive-minded approach to the game, and it begins with the ball pressure they apply on the perimeter. Baldwin has embodied this scheme and shown more than capable of getting up in his man's jersey and playing tenacious on-ball defense. He has quick, active hands and, despite not being the most athletic, has good instincts and anticipation to help keep his man in front of him. His off-ball defense is solid, picking and choosing his spots to jump passing lanes and create transition opportunities. In his most recent outing, Baldwin recorded 6 steals and 3 blocks against DePaul.
Baldwin has the potential to be a steady end-of-rotation two-way guard at the next level as he continues to grow and develop as a player. Working on his athleticism and explosiveness will be important to monitor as he works to round out his game in pursuit of his NBA dreams. Baldwin projects as a likely Portsmouth invitee that warrants X-10 consideration and a Summer League roster spot. While he'll likely spend a considerable portion of his early professional career in the G League, he's got a chance to eventually warrant an NBA call-up. His game would also translate nicely to carving out a long, successful career in Europe.
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