Quinn Cook's path to the NBA was not direct, but the Warriors guard said he never stopped believing in himself.
The Duke product went undrafted after winning a National Championship with the Blue Devils in 2015. He was a part of four different NBA organizations (Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks) before signing a two-way contract with the Warriors in 2017.
But Cook said he got by with a little help from his friends. College teammate Austin Rivers watched him in the G League, and so did LeBron James after a training camp together in Cleveland.
"That doesn't happen, and those guys kept my confidence [up]," Cook told Rivers and Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke on The Uninterrupted Road Trippin' Podcast. "I knew the work I put in. And growing up, I always had confidence in myself. I was a McDonald's All-American. I was All-American in college. I just had to take a different route, and I appreciated it."
Cook caught his big break with the Warriors last season. He played his way into coach Steve Kerr's rotation, and eventually a roster spot once Steph Curry was sidelined down the stretch with an injury.
In his fourth NBA season, Cook averaged career-highs of 9.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. He hit the 20-point mark five times, and started 15 of the Warriors' final 16 regular-season games.
Cook returned to the bench at the start of the playoffs, but still played 10 minutes a night for the eventual NBA champions. He made it, almost overnight, but said he was able to keep things in perspective.
"[When] Steph went down and I started to score [a lot], I didn't act like this was new because I had been doing it my whole life," Cook continued. "That was just a great opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of, and everything happened for a reason. [Four] teams passed on me, but I got on the right team and I just want to keep building."
Curry has played in 60 of the Warriors' 71 games this season, so Cook has only started eight times. His minutes and production are down, too, but Cook is scoring (16.3 points) and rebounding (5.6 rebounds) at the highest per-36 minute rates of his career.
Not that he's surprised.
You can hear the rest of Rivers, Cook and Burke's conversation on Road Trippin' in the player below, and subscribe here.