What is Ryan Rollins’ rookie role?
What Warriors fans can expect from Rollins in the 2022-23 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Life came to Ryan Rollins quickly. He was a three-star recruit in high school, struggling to attract big colleges. But after being named a freshman at the MAC in Toledo, Rollins began to realize his NBA dreams could come true.
After an impressive second season, the Warriors did it for Rollins — drafting him with the No. 44 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Golden State spent $2 million to earn seven spots on the long guard and lanky. Obviously, they had their eyes on him.
rollin impressed coach Steve Kerr from afar, and the Warriors saw him as a first-round talent. In late July, a month after the draft, the Warriors signed Rollins for a three-year, $4.8 million rookie deal. The first two years are fully guaranteed and the Warriors had to dip their toes into the mid-level exception to make it a multi-year contract.
Can he carve out a rookie role, though? It won’t be easy.
The Warriors’ roster is the deepest in years, with a solid top 11 that will be tough to crack. These are the players who will need to be passed: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green. This does not include the possibility of Andre Iguodala returning.
Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr. will have tough hills to climb.
Since Golden State drafted Green in 2012, Patrick McCaw has led the franchise’s second-round picks in games played as a Warrior with 128 over two seasons, followed by Jordan Bell with 126 and Eric Paschall with 100. Ognjen Kuzmic has played 37 in two seasons. , Nico Mannion appeared in 30 in the only season he played for the Dubs and Alen Smailagic appeared in 29 between seasons.
Paschall was named to the 2020 NBA All-Rookie Team, 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 for half the time and won a league low. 15 games. His role was reduced the following year and the Warriors traded him to the Utah Jazz last offseason.
No matter how much the Warriors love Rollins, he’s only 20 and a long-term investment. Paschall was 24½ when he was traded.
At Toledo, Rollins averaged 16.4 points in his two seasons and 18.9 as a sophomore. He was a midrange nightmare but only shot 31.7% from there. This is an area in which he wants to improve. What will earn him NBA minutes sooner rather than later, however, is his focus on the other side of the ball.
Listed at 6ft 4in, Rollins has a wingspan of 6ft 10in. Maybe his game has a a bit of Shaun Livingston, maybe he has some Gary Payton II. We won’t know until we finally see him on the floor, and Rollins should be ready to head to training camp after missing all of summer league as a precaution because of his physique showing a minor broken foot.
The reality is that Rollins will likely wear a Santa Cruz Warriors jersey a good deal 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 behind the rotation when the Warriors preserve their big minute players.
Stay patient, Dub Nation.