What Warriors fans can expect from Rollins in the 2022-23 season appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea
Life at Ryan Rollins came fast. He was a three-star recruit in high school, struggling to attract major universities. But after being named the MAC Freshman of the Year at Toledo, Rollins began to realize that his NBA dream could come true.
After an impressive sophomore season, the Warriors did just that for Rollins – drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick. 44 in the 2022 NBA Draft. Golden State spent $2 million to move up seven spots for the long, lanky guard. They clearly had their eyes on him.
Rollins impressed coach Steve Kerr from afar, and the Warriors saw him as a first-round talent. In late July, one month after the draft, the Warriors signed Rollins to a three-year, $4.8 million rookie contract. The first two years are fully guaranteed, and the Warriors had to dip their toes into the mid-level exception to land a multi-year deal.
Can he carve out a role as a rookie, though? It won’t be easy.
The Warriors’ roster has been at its deepest for years, with a strong top 11 that will be hard to beat. Here are the players to snap: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green. That doesn’t include the possibility of Andre Iguodala returning.
Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr. will have tough hills to climb.
Since Golden State drafted Green back in 2012, Eric Paschall has led the franchise in second-round picks in games played as a Warrior with 100 over two seasons. Ognjen Kuzmic played 37 in two seasons and Nico Mannion played 30 in the single season he suited up for the Dubs.
Paschall was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 2020, playing 60 games and averaging 14.0 points per game on a Warriors team that was without Curry, without Thompson, without Kevin Durant, without Green at halftime and winning a series -low. 15 games. His role was reduced the following year, and the Warriors traded him to the Utah Jazz last season.
No matter how great the Warriors like Rollins, he’s still only 20 years old and a long-term investment. Paschall was 24 and a half when he was traded.
At Toledo, Rollins averaged 16.4 points in his two seasons and 18.9 as a sophomore. He was a mid-range nightmare but only shot 31.7 percent from there. That’s an area he wants to improve on. What will get him NBA minutes sooner rather than later, however, is an emphasis on the other side of the ball.
Listed at 6-foot-4, Rollins has a 6-foot-10 wingspan. Maybe their game has a little Shaun Livingston, maybe it has some Gary Payton II. We won’t know until we finally see him on the floor, and Rollins should be good to go for training camp after missing all of summer league as a precaution from his physical showing with a minor leg fracture.
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The truth is, Rollins will probably wear a Santa Cruz Warriors jersey for a good portion of the time as a rookie. If he shows how important defense is to him and can control an offense, Rollins could find time as a ball-handler in the back of the rotation when the Warriors preserve their big-minute players.
Stay patient, Nation Dub.
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