On Friday, the Warriors officially welcomed the 19th overall pick of the 2023 Draft, Brandin Podziemski, to the Bay with his introductory press conference. Podziemski is very familiar with the area as he played his sophomore season of college basketball with the Santa Clara Broncos. He is originally from Wisconsin, where he was named Wisconsin Mr. Basketball and Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school senior after averaging 35.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 4.0 steals per game. He shot 60.4% from the field, 43.4% from 3-point range and 81.6% from the foul line that season. Podziemski played his freshman year of college at the University of Illinois before transferring to Santa Clara for his second and final season.
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At Santa Clara, Podziemski was given more of an opportunity to showcase his skillset.
“It was all about opportunity and confidence that my coaches gave me,” Podziemski said. “I was the same player I was at Illinois, that was just in a different light because of the opportunity.”
The 20-year-old guard averaged 19.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.8 steals in 36.0 minutes per game with the Broncos. He played in 32 games and was named the WCC Co-Player of the Year alongside Gonzaga's Drew Timme.
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Podziemski is a 6'5 guard who posted a 39.0-inch max vertical leap at the NBA Combine. This past season, Podziemski led the WCC in rebounding, ranked third in scoring, fifth in assists and first in double-doubles (13).
"I'm a triple-double guy in the NBA. I like to fill the box score every which way possible," Podziemski said. "I think you guys saw the scoring because that's what was asked of me. In reality, I always make the right play. Just trying to make basketball as simple as you can. I think Coach Kerr and his staff make that so much easier."
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Podziemski was also an elite shooter in college, finishing fifth in the nation in 3-point percentage (43.8%). He's thrilled to share the floor with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who he called the "two greatest shooters in the league."
"I'm a floor spacer myself and playing with guys like Steph and Klay, if I get to the rim, you can't help off them and it works both ways," Podziemski said.
Podziemski compares his game to another southpaw who was a perimeter shooting threat but also a consistent finisher above and below the rim, Manu Ginobili.
"My favorite player is Manu Ginobili," Podziemski said. "Just seeing the way he plays and his mentality, how he's a winner, he’s someone I model my game after."
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The rookie guard has exuded a winner's mentality from the moment he was drafted, telling General Manager Mike Dunleavy that he wants to go undefeated in summer league. Podziemski also expressed a desire to return the Warriors to their championship ways.
"Whatever team I've been on, we win, Podziemski said. “I want to win a championship this year."
Podziemski understands that there will be an adjustment from college to the NBA and he's ready to develop and contribute to a team with championship expectations, particularly on the practice court.
"I'm a competitor and I play against the best,” he said. “I'm ready. Steph and Klay are the best shooters in the world and I can't wait to go up against them every day. I'm not just going to let them win; probably going to get beat a lot, but I hope to make them better."
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Podziemski believes his most significant adjustment will be on the defensive end but is confident in his work and believes he may surprise some on that end.
"People will say that's the knock on me, my weakness,” Podziemski said. “Adjusting to the spacing was a struggle at the combine, but I've gotten a lot better and can't wait to showcase that."
The rookie guard described the Warriors as a "great fit."
"I'm a basketball player that knows how to pass, dribble and shoot, which is an embodiment of the Warriors program,” Podziemski said. “I'm a smart basketball player, and the Warriors have a lot of smart basketball players, as well. It's a perfect fit both ways."
Fans will have the chance to see Podziemski during summer league, with the California Classic taking place on July 3rd and 5th in Sacramento before the Dubs' head to Vegas for five games, starting July 7th.