NBC Sports

Kerr dazzled by Rollins workout amid Warriors' Finals run

NBC Sports

While Warriors general manager Bob Myers and his front-office lieutenants were evaluating talent for the 2022 NBA draft, coach Steve Kerr stayed out of the loop to keep his focus on a postseason that lasted 67 days.

There was, however, a momentary exception. It came during the NBA Finals, when Kerr was able to watch a workout that included second-round pick Ryan Rollins.

“I’m more of an observer during the draft.  And when we go to The Finals, there’s no time to take part in any of it,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday.

“But I happened to see Ryan Rollins’ workout. I was on the elliptical after practice one day, getting my workout in, and there were six guys on the floor. And he just jumped off the page.”

Kerr typically doesn’t offer his opinion, and rarely does the front office bother to seek it. In this instance, he gave it anyway.

“I turned to (assistant GM Mike Dunleavy) and said, ‘Who’s that guy?’” Kerr recalled. “And Mike said they really like him. He then kind of told me Ryan’s story.”

The Warriors, holding the 51st and 55th overall picks in the second round, liked Rollins enough to send $2 million and the No. 51 pick to the Hawks for their No. 44 overall pick to secure his rights.

“We didn’t think he’d make it that far (to No. 51),” Myers said after the draft. “The gap between Rollins and the next guy we had was pretty high. And that’s why we made the move to try to get up to No. 44.”

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Rollins, who turns 20 on Sunday, spent two seasons at the University of Toledo, where he was named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year and then led the Rockets in scoring as a sophomore. He declared for the draft in April, and then made strong impressions in team workouts as well as at the draft combine in May.

He hopes to become the next guard from a mid-major school – such as Stephen Curry (Davidson), Damian Lillard (Weber State) CJ McCollum (Lehigh) and Ja Morant (Murray State) – to achieve stardom in the NBA.

Rollins, who turns 20 on Sunday, is three months away from attending his first NBA training camp.

Kerr never saw either of the Warriors' other picks – Patrick Baldwin Jr. in the first round and Gui Santos in the second – but his first impression of Rollins was enough to become a fan.

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