Two of the best scorers in the competition over the past two seasons, Jordan Loyd and Wade Baldwin IV, will square off when Zenit St Petersburg hosts Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in their Round 7 tilt on Friday.
For both players, these are their third EuroLeague teams. Both Baldwin and Loyd entered the league in the 2019-20 season, Baldwin with Olympiacos Piraeus and Loyd with Valencia Basket, and after up-and-down debuts, each went on to shine last season and is now trying to carry over their scoring reputation into the current campaign.
When we look at their career numbers, Loyd has the scoring edge. He has averaged 14.7 points in 53 career appearances, while Baldwin has been worth 3 points fewer in his 68 games in the competition. Loyd has had better shooting percentages all across the board and is slightly better in rebounding and steals, while Baldwin holds a slight edge in dishing assists to his teammates.
However, if we take out their debut season in which Baldwin had many limited appearances with Olympiacos and Loyd missed a good part of the shortened season with an injury, both of their scoring averages improve significantly. Loyd has averaged 16.5 points – fourth-best in the league – since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, while Baldwin ranks ninth with 14.8 points in that same span.
However, when we look at the totals, only one player – the reigning MVP Vasilije Micic – has scored more points in this and last season combined than Baldwin’s 649, a list on which Loyd’s name appears seventh. Baldwin did have more appearances than most players on that list, including Loyd, but that’s due to the success of FC Bayern Munich, which Baldwin led into the EuroLeague Playoffs last season.
Now, Baldwin and Loyd will be on opposite ends and this sets up to be the fourth time these two scorers go head to head.
Their first meeting was also the second EuroLeague game for each of them. Loyd scored 12 points for Valencia, but Olympiacos thrashed the visitors 89-63 with Baldwin scoring 4 points. Last season they first met in Munich when Loyd’s Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade visited Bayern and it was Baldwin who paced the hosts to 74-59 win. Baldwin had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, while Loyd was held to 9 points on 2-for-14 field goal shooting plus 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
Their last head-to-head meeting was one to remember. Bayern rallied to edge Zvezda 76-78 with Baldwin finishing the game with 27 points of which 16 came late in the third and in the fourth quarter with him carrying 4 personal fouls. He made 7 of 10 two-point shots and 3 of 4 triples on the night. Loyd, on the other hand, scored 26 himself, making 7 of 11 two-pointers and 2 of 7 triples along with 6 rebounds.
Baldwin has been on the winning end in each of three games when he has seen Loyd on the opposing side, has shot the ball far better in those games, including 50% from three-point range. But Loyd has still better scoring and rebounding averages in those games.
Heading into Friday’s game, it will be interesting to see if they can repeat the fireworks the two treated us to the last time they went head-to-head.
Seen at: Euroleague.net