Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski has turned heads early in the 2023-24 NBA season.
While superstar Steph Curry missed the last two games due to a knee injury, it has been the first-round pick in the 2023 draft who has stepped up and provided new energy for Golden State. Podziemski is averaging 18 points on 52-percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range, with 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 32 minutes over the last two games.
Both Curry and Warriors coach Steve Kerr used a specific word to describe Podziemski's game: Cocky. But how does the first-year guard view his game?
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"I would say cocky may be a good term. But I think it's just a lot of confidence," Podziemski told NBC Sports Bay Area's Zena Keita and Dalton Johnson on "Warriors Pregame Live." "Where I come from and how I play basketball, you just kind of need that to make it and I think that's kind of what's got me here and it's helped me stay here."
Podziemski didn't play in five of the Warriors' first six games of the season. But when his number was called, he stayed ready.
He had a breakout performance Tuesday when it seemed like nothing was going right for Golden State. The Warriors welcomed the Minnesota Timberwolves to Chase Center hoping to snap their three-game losing streak. But a heated scuffle involving Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert resulted in the ejections of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green within the first two minutes of the game.
Golden State Warriors
So, without Curry, Thompson and Green, the Warriors relied on one of their other veterans, Andrew Wiggins and Chris Paul to step up, or even Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. But it was the 20-year-old rookie who shined the brightest.
Podziemski dropped 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting in 39 minutes, with seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and a whole lot of swagger.
Swagger. Cockiness. Confidence. Whatever you want to call it, Podziemski will make the most of his time on the floor and will be sure to put on a show while doing so.