Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski might have passed the stage where he's surprising people.
The 20-year-old guard has registered five DNPs (Did Not Play) this season, but when he gets an opportunity to touch the floor, he stays ready and makes the most of it each and every time.
"He's a gamer. He's a competitor. And he's smart," Warriors veteran forward Draymond Green said Thursday after the Warriors' 120-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at Chase Center. "He's a student of the game. He asks a million questions, whether it's to [Chris Paul], whether it's to me or coach, he's always asking questions. He'll come just sit next to you and listen. And it shows up when he plays.
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"BP is one of those guys, we knew right away at mini camp, like yo this kid can play. He's going to shock a bunch of people because if you look at our roster, I'm certain the expectation was the he'd spend a bunch of time in Santa Cruz. And you saw him play once and you're like, 'Aw man this kid can play.' Then you see him play again. And I actually told my friends, I know everyones thinking BP's going to spend a bunch of time in Santa Cruz. Watch him end up being a part of the rotation."
And part of the rotation he has been. Podziemski is averaging 6.9 points on 44.6 percent shooting from the field and 41.9 percent from 3-point range, with 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 17.4 minutes.
The Warriors entered Thursday's game coming off a tough loss to the Sacramento Kings two nights before, but they were struck with even more adversity without three key players.
Golden State Warriors
With Chris Paul (leg), Gary Payton II (calf) and Andrew Wiggins (finger) all ruled out of the game due to their respective injuries, the opportunity arose for other players to step up and fill the void. On Thursday, Podziemski understood the assignment.
"It's unfortunate that we got guys out, but when you do have guys out, that's your opportunity to step up," Green said. "And every time his number's been called, he's stepped up. So it's good to see him have the success that he's having. It's great for him because he'll continue to grow.
"Like, eight rebounds. I couldn't even get eight rebounds tonight! He's all over the place. That shows in him blowing up a play. That's a rookie. Rookies don't blow up plays. Rookies f--k up plays. And he doesn't."
Podziemski finished with 13 points on 50 percent shooting in the Warriors , adding eight rebounds, two assists and was a plus-12 in plus/minus rating in 31 minutes.
The Santa Clara product said he gained the "utmost confidence" since Golden State's In-Season Tournament loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves last month. In the game, he dropped a career-high 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting with seven rebounds, five assists and one steal in 39 minutes.
Warriors superstar Steph Curry and coach Steve Kerr both used the term "cocky" to describe Podziemski, to which the rookie didn't argue but said he'd refer to it as confidence.
Whatever you want to call it, the belief he has in himself is translating to real results on the court and now, more than just his teammates are noticing.