Could the Warriors go with a Santa Clara shootout?
We’re just one day out from newly minted general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. making his first move since taking over the top spot in the Golden State Warriors front office: making (or trading) number 19 in 2023. NBA Draft.
There are tons of options for the Warriors. They could go with a high ceiling player or a low floor player. A guard, a wing or a big. They could target a player who fits the system well or a player with the greatest talent. They could trade up, down or out.
One option has gained a lot of momentum lately: using the pick on Santa Clara sharpshooter Brandin Podziemski.
On Wednesday’s episode of Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN draft expert Jeremy Woo talked about the unique 17-19 spots in Thursday’s draft, which are held by, in order, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami heatand the Warriors, three teams battling for the title.
Woo mentioned that the three teams that draft this high (relative to their success on the court) could really change the outcome of the draft, linking them specifically to Podziemski, a player many believe could contribute to an NBA team with that same.
Here’s what Woo said:
These are teams that are constantly trying to be competitive. A lot of teams wonder if there will be older college players going in that area? Could you see some of these freshmen — who are maybe higher in reputation and upside — could you see them falling into the 20s because of how this draft is set up? And a couple of players I like are in that lineup who I think have had really good, positive pre-draft processes: Brandin Podziemski from Santa Clara, who played well in the combine … I think he’s worked very good. In many places, starting with the Lakers, Golden State, the two teams have come up on him a lot, I think he is someone who has kind of earned this with the good pre-draft process. He has been really focused on what he needs to do to improve his stock.
Podziemski could barely come off the bench as a freshman at Illinois before transferring to Santa Clara for the 2022-23 season. In his only year with the Broncos, the 20-year-old sharpshooter averaged 19.9 points per game. game while shooting 43.8% on threes. He also showed tremendous basketball instincts by grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game. game despite being a 6’5 shooting guard, and averaging 1.8 steals per game. match.
In addition to Woo’s comments on the podcast, he and fellow draft expert Jonathan Givony have the Warriors selecting Podziemski in their latest mock draft at ESPN (subscription required), with Givony writing that “The Warriors are said to be looking at a different strategy on draft night this year after previously selecting young, developmental prospects who have been difficult to fully integrate into their style of play. . . Podziemski, an analytical model favorite, has helped himself in the pre-draft process with the intriguing combination of toughness, shooting and passing skills he’s demonstrated in workouts, helping him climb solidly into the first round.”
The Dubs certainly have no shortage of young guard prospects, so if they did go this route it would be interesting to see if there is a similar move to trade away a player or if it will just be an open competition to earn minutes.
With Podziemski headed to Golden State, let’s see what a few other draft analysts have to say. The Caller’s Kevin O’Connor ranks Podziemski No. 25 on his big board, noting that he is a “knockdown shooter off the catch” with a “pillowy touch when throwing up dribblers and hook shots,” who is an “excellent rebounder” with a ” magnetic feeling”. to track the trajectory of the boards” and an “active on-ball defender.” On the downside, O’Connor notes that Podziemski “has struggled to create advantages off the dribble against longer defenders due to his slow first step” and that he is “a strange on-ball defender who was roasted by faster players even when facing a lower level. of competition.”
Over at The Athletic, Sam Vecenie has Podziemski ranked much lower, at No. 42, noting that Podziemski is “one of the best catch-and-shoot scorers in the country” and that it’s “hard to stress, how clean the shot is. looks,” while adding that his “game just flows well into itself.” Vecenie cautions that Podziemski’s size and athleticism (or lack thereof) are each a “real question” that could hinder how much both his offense and defense can play at the next level. Vecenie is much lower on Podziemski’s ability to succeed as a defender in the NBA than O’Connor, Woo and Givony are.
In their mock drafts, O’Connor has Podziemski to go to Memphis Grizzlies at No. 25, while Vecenie has it Brooklyn Nets taking him at No. 22. O’Connor has the Dubs select Kansas guard Gradey Dick (who is expected to go much higher in most mocks), while Vecenie has them end up with UConn Jordan Hawkins flew.
There have been 14 players from Santa Clara to reach the NBA, most notably Steve Nash and Kurt Rambis. There’s only one currently in the league, Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder (cue Bob Fitzgerald saying “that’s Santa Clara Jalen Williams”).
Now let’s see some highlights!