Brandin Podziemski

Why Warriors' Podziemski believes he's NBA All-Rookie first team

NBC Universal, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO – Brash and bold with the right dose of inner and outer confidence a core of future Hall of Famers didn’t need much time to respect. 

Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski brought a little bit of everything his first NBA season, exceeding outside expectations every step of the way. Nobody believed Podziemski, the No. 19 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and fellow rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, the No. 57 pick, would be key contributors in Year 1 and look like pillars of Golden State’s immediate future. 

After years of watching rookies take a back seat in Steve Kerr’s rotations, it was Podziemski who stepped in as the Warriors’ starting shooting guard the first time Klay Thompson was ever sent to the bench under Kerr. The Warriors took Jackson-Davis with the second-to-last pick, yet he firmly established himself as the team’s starting center the final few weeks of the season. 

Podziemski believes he and Jackson-Davis each deserve All-Rookie recognition, making franchise history in the case that soon becomes reality. 

"It does to me,” Podziemski said to NBC Sports Bay Area when asked if the All-Rookie team matters to him. “I think me and Trayce should both be on the All-Rookie team, whether that's first or second. I think I should be first team.” 

The Warriors haven’t had a player named to the All-Rookie team since Eric Paschall in the 2019-20 season. What Podziemski thinks should happen when the All-Rookie teams are announced hasn’t happened for the Warriors in 43 years when Joe Barry Carroll and Larry Smith both were named to the All-Rookie first team. 

The NBA didn’t introduce second team All-Rookie until the 1988-89 season. 

Podziemski ranked eighth among rookies in minutes per game (25.7), 10th in points (9.2), fifth in assists (3.7), sixth in rebounding (5.8) and third in 3-point percentage (38.5 percent). The 6-foot-5 guard’s 427 total rebounds led the Warriors and were the most by a Golden State rookie since Joe Smith in 1995-96. 

“I don't know how they look at it – if it's numbers based, if it's wins based, if you're impacting the team,” Podziemski said. “All in all, if you look at the top-five rookies I think I'm in that category, just based on what I bring on a daily basis, who I have around me, what kind of team I'm playing on, my usages. 

“Because I feel like If I was in some of the other rookie's situations ... I'm still putting up more numbers too.”

The impact Podziemski made on the Warriors is his calling card for All-Rookie. “He’s changing the narrative of what it means to be a Warriors rookie,” one NBA source said to NBC Sports Bay Area during Podziemski’s rookie year. That same source also called Podziemski the best help defender as a Warriors rookie since Draymond Green. 

Podziemski led the NBA in charges drawn with 38. His plus-264 plus/minus was the second-best by a rookie, behind only Chet Holmgren. Podziemski had 17 games of having at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Victor Wembanyama, 23 such games, was the only rookie to rank ahead of Podziemski. He also became the first rookie to record three straight double-doubles without a turnover since the stat first was tracked in 1977-78.

Synergy Basketball has Podziemski’s rookie year as the sixth-most impactful over the last five seasons, a list that makes him the third-most impactful rookie this season behind Holmgren and Wembanyama.

While Podziemski ranked fifth in his rookie class with seven double-doubles, Jackson-Davis was sixth with six. Three of Podziemski’s double-doubles came off the bench, and Jackson-Davis did so four times.

“Trayce's emergence from where he came from to now is incredible,” Podziemski said. “So I think we should both be on there."

Jackson-Davis was one of four rookies to record consecutive double-doubles this season. The other three were Wembanyama, Holmgren and Podziemski. The Warriors went 9-2 down the stretch of the regular season once Jackson-Davis secured a spot in the starting lineup. And the Warriors ranked seventh in offensive rating (116.6), fifth in defensive rating (108.6) and sixth in net rating (7.9) over that span. 

Along with himself, Podziemski would add Wembanyama, Holmgren, Brandon Miller and Jaime Jaquez Jr. to the All-Rookie first team if he had a vote. 

Podziemski will know in May if his All-Rookie hopes for himself and Jackson-Davis turn true. Next season already is front of mind for Podziemski, too. That includes one major individual accolade, as well as being a major part of NBA All-Star weekend at Chase Center. 

"I'm trying to go out there and win Most Improved Player,” Podziemski said. “That's something I'm looking forward to. I don't really expect nothing less from myself. 

“Obviously playing in the Rising Stars Game again because it's here would be pretty special. And then depending on personnel, who we have, just competing in a Skills Challenge or 3-Point Competition with Steph [Curry] or something would be really nice because it's in the Bay."

The numbers back Podziemski’s self-assessment of his rookie year, and doubting his desires for next season is an invitation he’ll accept every time.

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