Ryan Rollins, the 44th pick of the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Draft, was traded to the Washington Wizards as part of the Jordan Poole trade. After only appearing in 12 games for the Warriors last season, he has the chance to have a bigger role and play more minutes for Washington in the 2023-24 season.
Rollins spent a lot of time with Golden State’s G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors last season. In 9 games there, he averaged 19.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting an impressive 51.3% from the field. He showed why he was seen as one of the sleepers in the second round of the draft.
Yet, he was never going to get a significant opportunity with the big club in Golden State. Rollins is a scoring combo guard, and in a rotation with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and now Chris Paul, the minutes were going to be hard to come by. Plus, the Warriors are a contender and don’t have the time and patience to develop young, raw players.
The Wizards, on the other hand, can give him a significant role next year and see what he is capable of. He already started as the point guard in the Wizards’ first summer league game.
Rollins profiles as a shot creator and maker. He can run pick and rolls, pull up from mid-range, and three. He hasn’t been able to hit a great mark from downtown so far in his college or NBA career, but his shooting stroke and mechanics suggest that he should improve there.
He is an aggressive, relentless attacker, but he needs to improve his playmaking and passing. The first Summer League game against the Indiana Pacers showed Rollins’ strengths and weaknesses perfectly. He was overstretched as a primary creator, finishing with 2 assists and 4 turnovers, but was able to put up 13 shots in 19 minutes of action, creating decent looks for himself consistently.
Rollins should have a role as a bench scorer and playmaker for the Wizards next season, but he may not be ready to play point guard just yet. Perhaps, he should play his minutes with Tyus Jones or Jordan Poole next to him to share the ball-handling duties.
One advantage of having Rollins in the rotation is his good size and ability to defend both point guards and shooting guards. He is an active, engaged defender who will not be a liability defensively. He crashes the boards hard and gets involved in help defense and loose balls. He should be a decent defender in the long run.
What will decide Rollins’ future in the NBA is his scoring efficiency. We know he can create shots, but at what clip will he make his threes and mid-rangers will be the swing skill for him.
The Washington Wizards did a good job by acquiring Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr from the Warriors. This is a good roll of the dice for two young, high-upside players.
Let’s see what the 21-year-old can do in his role in Washington.