A Breakdown of the Warriors' 2023 Draft Picks


The 2023 NBA Draft may go down as one of the best draft classes ever, due to its immense top-heavy talent coupled with great depth in the mid-to-late first round and even the second round. With the Warriors positioned at the 19th pick, there was still an abundance of quality players left on the board on draft night, such as projected top-10 pick Cam Whitmore who fell due to medical and attitude concerns, Ohio State freshman scorer Brice Sensabaugh, and versatile G-League Ignite wing Leonard Miller, among others. The player that I personally believed would be an excellent fit for the Warriors, Dereck Lively, went higher than expected at pick 12 to the Mavericks. However, it does make sense due to the Mavericks' desperate need for a big man. At the end of the day, the Warriors opted to go with Santa Clara sophomore guard Brandin Podziemski, a do-it-all guard who also provides great hustle, energy, and effort, traits the Warriors covet.

Podziemski stands at 6'5 and weighs 205 pounds. Like many former Warriors, he was raised in Milwaukee, going to St. John's Northwestern Academy for his high school career. Following high school, he committed to the Illinois Fighting Illini, but unfortunately, he played under 5 minutes a game and averaged less than 2 points per game, indicating that the coaching staff didn't trust him. As a result, Podziemski transferred to the Santa Clara Broncos, where he was given the keys to the offense. After one year at Santa Clara, he averaged 19.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. With such great numbers all around, no wonder he was so highly regarded by the Warriors front office. However, the qualities that make Podziemski truly stand out are his motor and his shooting ability. His motor can be seen through his willingness to rebound as a guard. In fact, he is only one of three players in NCAA D1 this year to average more than 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. According to General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., Podiziemski is also incredibly smart and has a great work ethic, which makes his freshman to sophomore year jump more understandable. Hustle and hard work are certainly traits that the Warriors value, but probably the biggest reason the Warriors drafted him is his ability to shoot from long range. Overall, his efficiency statistics are fantastic, with 48% from the field and a staggering 44% from three. Yes, 44%. From the film that I've watched, if he's wide open, he's essentially guaranteed to make the three. His personal shot creation needs some work, yet he can still make threes off the dribble, but the one clear, translatable skill is his catch-and-shoot abilities, both off of dribble handoffs (DHOs) and offball screens. 

Although he seems like a do-it-all player on the offensive end, with great hustle, unselfishness, and high basketball IQ, his on-ball defense is subpar at best. That's due to his slim frame, but also his perceived lack of speed and lateral quickness (which is weird considering he's a great athlete with a 39 inch vertical). He oftentimes gets blown by when guarding smaller, faster guards and relies too much on his interior big men to cover up his defensive mistakes. On the Warriors, especially with their lack of big men, that is not going to slide. Also, his lack of burst hinders his self creation ability, so he always gets cut off, forcing him to hit a tough turnaround fade or jumper. His go-to move is simply a jab then pull up three, but at the NBA level as a 6'5 combo guard, it'd be better to have a more nuanced attacking bag. And despite his 39 inch vertical, he doesn't apply much direct pressure at the rim and usually resorts to soft-touch floaters and hooks, which admittingly, he makes due to his incredible feel and soft touch. Overall, Podziemski seems like a player that can play in day 1 simply due to his catch-and-shoot three point abilities, and with his IQ and playmaking abilities, Podziemski can certainly be a replacement for Jordan Poole, just without the attitude problems and more hustle. 

After trading with the Wizards, the Warriors acquired the 57th pick in exchange for 2022 first round pick Patrick Baldwin Jr. Although fans may be mad at the fact that the Warriors traded a promising stretch forward for the second-to-last pick of the 2023 draft, the player that the Warriors obtained with that pick is arguably better than PBJ and most certainly a first-round talent. That player is Trayce Jackson-Davis (TJD for short), a senior from Indiana. With his 4-year pedigree at one of the most storied basketball colleges in history, TJD figures to be someone with great maturity, awareness, and knowledge, making him another player that can contribute for the Warriors. The clear trend for the 2023 draft for the Warriors is drafting players that can play immediately, with experience and high IQ. His college stats speak for itself, as he is the only player in NCAA D1 in the past 25 years to average 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, 4+ assists, and 2+ blocks per game. As the stats show, Jackson-Davis is a polished, scoring big that can also defend extremely well, something that the Warriors desperately need. Based off the film, his main moves offensively stem from the low-post, where he has enough athleticism to dunk on his defenders or utilize nuanced footwork and soft touch. From there, he's also a capable passer, hitting the right guys at the right spots when double teamed or trapped. GM Mike Dunleavy has also said that TJD will have a spot on the main roster, indicating that he probably will contribute to some extent for the Warriors next season. The main downside to TJD is that he's a 23 year old senior, so his ceiling is pretty limited, but quite frankly, the Warriors do not need him to do much. He simply has to be a great finisher, which he already is, rebound at a high level, and play defense. There's no need for him to develop a jumper or three-point shot in the Warriors system, allowing him to focus on the things that he does best. 

Overall, the Warriors drafted some quality, experienced, and Day-1-playable guys in the 2023 draft while also addressing some positions of need, particularly in the front court. Podziemski also offers some long term upside as a scoring combo guard with playmaking abilities. Dub Nation should be quite optimistic with the players that the Warriors drafted, but honestly, that's not what the fanbase is focusing on right now. We're still all shellshocked by the blockbuster trade, acquiring 38 year old Chris Paul by trading Poole to the Wizards. Look out for an article regarding that trade in the coming days!

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