Why Warriors’ Podziemski thinks he’s first team NBA All-Rookie – NBC Sports Bay Area

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Why Warriors’ Podziemski thinks he’s first team NBA All-Rookie – NBC Sports Bay Area


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

Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski brought a little bit of everything in his first NBA season, exceeding outside expectations every step of the way. No one believed that Podziemski, the No. 19 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and fellow forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, the No. 57 pick, would be key contributors in year one and look like cornerstones. 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 point guard the first time Klay Thompson was sent to the bench under Kerr. The Warriors selected Jackson-Davis with the second-to-last pick, but he firmly established himself as the team’s starting center over the final weeks of the season.

Podziemski believes he and Jackson-Davis each deserve All-Rookie recognition, making franchise history in this soon-to-be reality.

“It concerns me,” Podziemski told NBC Sports Bay Area when asked if making the All-Rookie team meant to him. “I think Trayce and I should both be on the All-Rookie team, whether it’s first or second team. I think I should be first team.

The Warriors haven’t had a player named to the All-Rookie team since Eric Paschall during the 2019-20 season. What Podziemski said 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 were both named to the All-Rookie first team.

The NBA did not introduce the All-Rookie Second Team 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 rebounds (5.8) and third in percentage by 3 points (38.5%). 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 based on numbers, if it’s based on wins, if you have an impact on the team,” Podziemski said. “Overall, if you look at the top five signings, I think I’m in that category, just based on what I bring on a daily basis, who I have around me, the type of team in which I play, my uses.

“Because I feel like if I was in some of the situations that the other rookies are…I’m still putting up more numbers too.”

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

Podziemski led the NBA in charges made with 38. His plus-264 plus/minus was second-best by a rookie, behind only Chet Holmgren. Podziemski had 17 games with 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 consecutive double-doubles without a turnover since the statistic was first recorded in 1977-78.

Synergy Basketball places Podziemski’s rookie year sixth in the last five seasons, a list that makes him the third highest-scoring rookie this season behind Holmgren and Wembanyama.

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

“Trayce’s emergence from where he’s come to this point is incredible,” Podziemski said. “So I think we should both be 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 during the regular season once Jackson-Davis earned 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 will come true. Next season is also already on Podziemski’s mind. That includes a major individual honor, as well as a significant portion of NBA All-Star Weekend at Chase Center.

“I’m trying to go out there and win Most Improved Player,” Podziemski said. “It’s something I’m looking forward to. I really wouldn’t expect anything less from myself.

“Obviously playing the Rising Stars Game again because it’s here would be pretty special. And then, depending on the staff we have, just participate in a skills challenge or a 3-point competition with Steph. [Curry] or something that would be really nice because it’s in the Bay.”

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

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