Steph Curry Sounds off on Warriors Rising Rookie Who Supplanted Klay Thompson

Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski and Steph Curry

Getty Stephen Curry #30 and Brandin Podziemski #2 of the Golden State Warriors warm up before their game against the LA Clippers.

Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry turned philosophical when he talked about Brandin Podziemski in The Athletic’s feature story on their fast-rising, trash-talking rookie.

“It’s easier to tame a lion than get a sheep to show some oomph,” Curry told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “The most annoying parts about him are the greatest parts about him. He’s still coachable. That’s a big part of it. You can say all that stuff but if you can’t accept coaching, that’s where it turns into being counterproductive.”

Curry meant he welcomes the rookie’s aggressiveness which is easier to control than having none of it.

Podziemski’s unbridled confidence has catapulted him from a projected rookie year in the G League to starting next to the greatest shooter in NBA history.

The brash Warriors rookie has walked the talk, supplanting one of their dynasty’s pillars, Klay Thompson, in the starting lineup.

In his first start in place of Thompson, the 20-year-old rookie did not disappoint. He was all over the place like he always has, scattering 13 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in a 140-137 Warriors win on February 15.

It was a fitting followup to his 25-point, 7-rebound and 8-assist performance in their heartbreaking 130-125 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on February 14 when Thompson committed a mental lapse down the stretch which hastened his demotion and the rookie’s promotion.

Steve Kerr Explains the Rookie’s Well-Earned Promotion

Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted he’d been toying around with the idea of the rookie-veteran switch for a while. But he kept on delaying it until Thompson’s late meltdown against the Clippers.

“I’ve been thinking about it and you know the lineup with Brandin [Podziemski] out there with [Andrew WigginsJonathan KumingaDraymond Green and Stephen Curry] has been by far our best lineup,” Kerr told reporters after their win against the Jazz. “BP [Podziemski] connects the game. He rebounds he does some things that really help the other guys and I’ve been thinking about it. I decided to do it [Thursday night] and talk to Klay this morning and I thought he handled everything beautifully.”

The Warriors’ new starting unit with Podziemski is plus-26.5 points in 219 possessions, according to Cleaning The Glass, which filters garbage minutes. In contrast, the starting five with Thompson is only plus-9.8 points in 286 possessions, per Cleaning The Glass.

Brandin Podziemski’s Intangibles

Podziemski has been sizzling in February, averaging 12.8 points on 40% 3-point shooting, 7.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He’s scored in double digits over their last four games before the All-Star break.

But more than his solid numbers, his intangibles have what made Podziemski a valuable player to Kerr and the Warriors.

“What this team has lacked, what it lacked last year, he gave us,” Kerr told Slater. “The connection. The connector. The ball-mover. The cutter. There’s a feel and a recognition of what’s happening on the floor that makes him playable in any lineup. He enhances every lineup.”

The 19th overall pick is leading the WHOLE league in total charges drawn, per game and per 36 minutes. His signature play of the season came at the closing moments of a nerve-wracking win against the lottery-bound Portland Trail Blazers on December 17.

Podziemski is a cinch to make the All-Rookie Team with his stellar play.

Through 47 games, Podziemski is averaging 9.9  points on 46.4% shooting from the field and 38.5% 3-point shooting with 5.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 26.4 minutes per game.