Title: Wade Baldwin hopes Raptors 905 puts him back on NBA path after career detours
Date: March 4, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the up-and-down start to Wade Baldwin’s NBA career and what a new beginning with Raptors 905 means for him.
As far as sophomore developments go, it felt like the sort of light-bulb moment that shows a young player is beginning for put things together. With Damian Lillard on the sidelines and the Portland Trail Blazers down double-digits to the Houston Rockets, Wade Baldwin IV got the call. The goal: Lock down two future hall of famers in Chris Paul and James Harden as best you can, and be a chaos engine to disrupt the Rockets’ comfort.
Here was Baldwin, playing just his fifth NBA game of the season late in the year, getting called on for 32 minutes against a top contender, and drawing the toughest defensive assignments. In the second quarter, Baldwin used his 7-foot wingspan to force the MVP into a pair of turnovers, earning a tough rebuttal he didn’t take lying down. Later, he’d help key a 17-0 Blazers run in the final five minutes, a comeback that fell short when Paul hit a game-winner. Head coach Terry Stotts called Baldwin’s defence “exceptional” and Lillard described it as “playoff level.” Despite the loss, Baldwin made an impression.
Less than a year later, Baldwin found himself signing into the G League player pool as a free agent.
“One day you’re up, one day you’re the man because you’re guarding James Harden, the next day you’re traded three times and then waived,” Baldwin said.