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Podziemski and Jackson-Davis Reflect on Stellar Rookie Campaigns

Podziemski Refers to he and Jackson-Davis as League's Best Rookie Duo

Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis completed incredibly impactful rookie seasons for the Warriors, which placed them among the top-performing players in their draft class. Podziemski (28) and Jackson-Davis (17) combined for 45 starts (including the Play-In Tournament) and were key contributors on both ends of the floor. In an interview on ESPN's 'NBA Today' show, Podziesmki referred to he and Jackson-Davis as the "best rookie duo in the league.'

Podziemski, the 19th pick in his class, was the lowest-drafted player selected to the Rising Stars game (among rookies and second-year players). He led the league in drawn charges, drawing more charges than 20 NBA teams and at 6'5, grabbed a team-leading 427 rebounds — the Warriors, led by Podziemski, led the NBA in both categories. He was the first Warriors rookie since Chris Webber (1993-94) to record at least 600 points, 400 rebounds and 200 assists in a season.

"I don't think there were five better rookies this season," Podziemski said, confident in his overall impact. He was the only rookie to lead his team in plus-minus (+264).

Jackson-Davis set the tone for his rookie campaign with a draft day tweet as he slipped further down the draft board, saying, "Y'all will regret it, I promise," talking to the teams that passed up on him. The Warriors certainly didn't regret selecting him with the 57th overall pick. Jackson-Davis was the team's top shot blocker, blocking a team-high 76 shots and recording a team-leading 1.1 blocks per game. Jackson-Davis also became the first Warriors rookie to make 100 dunks in a season since play-by-play data was first tracked in 1997-98. He finished second among rookies in field goals percentage (70.2%, min 200 FGM).

"I thought overall I had a pretty solid rookie season," Jackson-Davis said, putting it modestly.

In their exit interviews, both Podziemski and Jackson-Davis emphasized a desire to get even better and improve on their rookie successes. Podziemski sees growth opportunities with more on-ball reps and getting even more efficient with his playmaking.

"I think the ball will be in my hands a little bit more and just being more efficient, trying to take the burden off Steph and Draymond's shoulders," Podziemski said. "When we got into games that we really need to win, we kind of just deferred to Steph and I think that's natural, just because of the level that he's at and that he's been doing for so long, but I think for our other guys it's about how can we impact games that are meaningful and take the burden off his shoulders."

Warriors Talk: Brandin Podziemski 2023-24 Season Exit Interview - 4/17/24

The abrupt conclusion of the season, via the Play-In Tournament, left a sour taste in his mouth.

"I don't want to be in the play-in anymore," Podziemski said. "I had my little taste of it and it was terrible, so just getting that top 6 seed every year is something I look forward to."

Jackson-Davis is also using the Play-In Tournament for motivation and specifically, a player he directly competed against, Kings center Domantas Sabonis.

"Coach mentioned Sabonis's name and the force he plays with," Jackson-Davis said. "Improving on free throws and then being able to hit a catch and shoot threes is something I want to expand on."

Warriors Talk: Trayce Jackson-Davis 2023-24 Season Exit Interview - 4/17/24

The rookie duo plan to play in Summer League to continue their development and showcase their offseason growth. They have enjoyed having each other by their side along the way.

"I feel like he's a brother to me," Podziemski said about Jackson-Davis. "Every step of our NBA journey, we've been together from Santa Cruz, summer league last year, being out of the rotation together, we ended up starting together. For Trayce and I, developing that connection on and off the floor is going to be impactful for years to come."