As you know by now, Duke missed on Patrick Baldwin, Jr., as the talented forward opted to stay home and play for his father, Patrick Baldwin, Sr., at Milwaukee.
As he said in his announcement, he likes the idea of being at home and of his mom being able to attend his games.
And that’s cool. We’re genuinely happy for him. By all accounts he’s an intelligent and capable young man who has a very bright future even if basketball ended tomorrow.
It’s really hard to say how well Milwaukee will do but we’d expect around 25 wins, maybe more, and a ticket to the NCAA tournament.
And while we’d have loved to see him in Durham, we were also a bit concerned about minutes for everyone because who do you sit?
We would expect Duke to start Mark Williams, Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin up front and Jeremy Roach and either Wendell Moore or Trevor Keels. The other rotation players are likely to be Joey Baker, Theo John and Jaylen Blakes. Would there have been room for Baldwin?
No doubt. And having one more quality player - and one more great shooter - would help.
But it might have caused issues too. The more we see of AJ Griffin, the more impressed we are. He’s really athletic and he gives Duke ridiculous options on defense. And when you consider that Duke, between Williams, John and Banchero should always have at least one shot blocker on the court at all times, Griffin, Moore and others will be able to overplay a lot.
In fact, keep an eye on Duke’s three point defense next season. It should be outstanding.
As brilliant as Baldwin is, we’re not sure he would offer much help in those areas. The upcoming Duke team has the potential to be legitimately great on defense.
So don’t worry too much about not having Baldwin. He’ll have a wonderful time at Milwaukee and the Blue Devils will have a tremendous team. Everyone should be happy.