Where ESPN ranks Podziemski among current NBA rookies

Where ESPN ranks Podziemski among current NBA rookies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Brandin Podziemski has become a staple in the Warriors' rotation during his first season, but where exactly does the 20-year-old guard stack up against the other rookies during the 2023-24 NBA season?

ESPN's Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton compiled a power rankings list of NBA rookies, and Podziemski's place might come as a surprise considering the Warriors selected the Santa Clara University product with the No. 19 overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Marks had Podziemski at the No. 3 spot on his power rankings list, trailing only San Antonio Spurs big man Victor Wembenyama and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren.

Here's what Marks had to say about Golden State's standout rookie:

"The Warriors guard continues to fill the stat sheet and make an impact on the game," Marks said.

"Over the first six games of February, Podziemski recorded 41 assists and only four turnovers, becoming the first rookie since Nate McMillan in 1987 with at least 40 assists and fewer than five turnovers over a six-game stretch, per ESPN Stats & Information.

"Podziemski ranks No. 2 in charges drawn per game and first in total charges drawn. In the Warriors' past 10 games, Podziemski ranks first in minutes played in the fourth quarter, ahead of both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson."

Podziemski wasn't much farther behind on Pelton's list, coming in at No. 4 behind Holmgren, Wembenyama and Dallas Mavericks big man Dereck Lively II.

Pelton pointed to Podziemski's early contributions on a veteran-laden team as a reason for his placing so high despite being the 19th selection in his draft class.

"There's a lot of similarity between Podziemski and [Miami Heat forward] Jaime Jaquez Jr. as rookies carving out key roles on veteran teams and frequently finishing games," Pelton explained. "The playmaking Bobby mentioned has been a key edge for Podziemski in advanced stats.

"He's handing out 5.2 assists per 36 minutes to Jaquez's 3.2, often of the daring variety, while actually averaging fewer turnovers per minute than Jaquez as well."

Podziemski's well-rounded game has meshed perfectly with a veteran Warriors core, with the rookie guard impacting the game in various ways whenever he is on the floor

The 20-year-old guard is averaging 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 26.4 minutes per game during his rookie campaign, earning a selection to the 2024 Rising Stars game.

Podziemski's 2.6 win shares are tied for second among all NBA rookies this season, trailing only Lively II, who has registered 3.4 win shares.

As the Warriors look to maximize the remaining years of their dynasty's core, Podziemski continues to carve his place as a foundational piece in the present and moving forward in the long term.

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