Kerr Blinded By Rollins Training Amid Warriors’ Finals Run originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
While warriors General Manager Bob Myers and his front office lieutenants evaluated talent for the 2022 NBA draft, coach Steve Kerr steered clear to keep his focus on a postseason that lasted 67 days.
However, there was a temporary exception. It came during the NBA Finals, when Kerr was able to watch a workout with: second round pick Ryan Rollins†
“During the draft I am more of an observer. And if we go to the finals, there’s no time to participate in it,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday.
“But I happened to see Ryan Rollins’ training. I was working out one day after the elliptical workout, and there were six guys on the floor. And he just jumped off the page.”
Kerr usually doesn’t give his opinion, and the front office rarely bothers to look for it. In this case, he gave it anyway.
“I turned to (assistant GM Mike Dunleavy) and said, ‘Who’s that guy?’” Kerr recalls. “And Mike said they really like him. He kind of told me Ryan’s story then.’
The Warriors, with the 51st and 55th overall picks in the second round, loved Rollins enough to send $2 million and the number 51 pick to the Hawks for their number 44 overall pick to secure his rights.
“We didn’t think he would get that far (to number 51),” Myers said after the draft. “The gap between Rollins and the next guy we had was pretty big. And that’s why we took the step of trying to reach number 44.”
Rollins, who turns 20 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 as a sophomore. He declared himself for the draft in April and then made a strong impression in team training sessions and at the draft in May.
He hopes to become the next high school guard — like Stephen Curry (Davidson), Damian Lillard (Weber State), CJ McCollum (Lehigh), and Ja Morant (Murray State) — to reach NBA stardom.
Rollins, who turns 20 on Sunday, is three months away from attending his first NBA training camp.
Kerr never saw any 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 make him a fan.