Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Offers Different View on Steph Curry’s Heir Apparent

Steve Kerr, Stephen Curry, Warriors

Getty Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors reacts during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Gutsy rookie Brandin Podziemski quarterbacked the Golden State Warriors to their first back-to-back win since December with a near triple-double as they got back at Memphis Grizzlies 121-101 on Friday, February 3, on the road.

Podziemski matched Stephen Curry‘s record for most assists made by a Warriors rookie in a single game. The Santa Clara product issued 14 assists without a turnover on top of 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.

“I’m a point guard,” Podziemski told the NBC Sports crew during his postgame interview when asked about his career-best 14 assists. “It’s just what I’m supposed to do. My job is to get the team organized, make plays for others and let their confidence grow and blossom.”

“There are a lot of plays that I could have taken layups but I’ve decided to lob it off to my teammates just to get them going in a rhythm.”

While impressed with his prized rookie, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr offered a different view of Podziemski.

“Brandin was great, ” Kerr told reporters after the win. I mean, he’s just a basketball player. He’s not a point guard,  not [shooting] guard. He’s just a basketball player and the extra ball handling that we have on the floor when he’s out there with Steph [Curry] is really important. And then when Steph goes to the bench, we really need him out there to kind of run the team. So he just knows how to play. He’s had a great rookie season and he’s just getting better.”

Brandin Podziemski Expected to Make All-Rookie Selection

Podziemski is a cinch to make it to the All-Star Rookie team barring serious injury.

The 6-foot-4 rookie guard is averaging 9.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 46.6% from the field and 37.5% from deep.

Podziemski is no. 3 among all rookies in assists, no. 5 in rebounds and no. 9 in scoring.

Steve Kerr Hopes Warriors Keep Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins‘ double-digit scoring streak ended at five games as he tallied only nine points in Memphis on 3 of 9 shooting. But he was also a plus-9, a recurring theme lately that has inspired Kerr to lobby for the Warriors to keep Wiggins past the trade deadline.

“I think he’s playing well,” Kerr said via NBC Sports after their February 1 practice at Chase Center. “I’m very hopeful, and I expect him to be here when the trade deadline passes. He’s been a big part of our team now for years, helped us win a title a year and a half ago, and still has a lot of career ahead of him.”

Before Friday’s win in Memphis, Wiggins averaged 18.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks while shooting 61.1% from the field and 43.8% from the 3-point line over his last five games. It was a dramatic improvement and better than his All-Star numbers during the Warriors’ 2022 title run.

The Warriors recently fielded trade offers for Wiggins, but according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, “nothing has made them jump.”

Warriors’ Big Man Target Could Be Available

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, there are rumblings that Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton is not untouchable.

“I’ve heard more than once this week not to discount the idea that Brooklyn big man Nic Claxton could be more available over the next seven days than previously advertised,” Stein wrote in his substack newsletter on February 1. “There are mixed signals in circulation about the Nets’ plans with Claxton as unrestricted free agency looms this summer.”

On January 30, Slater mentioned Claxton as one of the three centers on the Warriors’ radar as a potential replacement for Kevon Looney.

“The Warriors have explored the center market. Could Wendell Carter Jr. be obtained from the Orlando Magic? Atlanta’s Clint Capela is reportedly available. Is Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton worth the price it’d take to get him and whatever contract he’d command in free agency this summer?” Slater wrote.