Stephen Curry Shouts Out Warriors Rookie for Being a Rising Star

Stephen Curry

Getty Warriors guard Stephen Curry looks on before a game against the Jazz on February 15, 2024.

Rookie Brandin Podziemski has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise gloomy season for the Warriors, who entered the All-Star break as the 10th seed in the West.

And while Warriors fans have routinely come to expect “Podz” to make winning plays on the court, the rest of the basketball world caught a glimpse of his potential during the February 16 Rising Stars Challenge that pit Pau Gasol’s squad of NBA rookies and sophomores against Deltef Schremp’s team of G-Leaguers.

After the game, Stephen Curry made it a point to give Podziemski his flowers for showing out at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Representing Team Pau, Podziemski treated the exhibition game like a regular season affair, diving for loose balls, hustling back on defense and leaving it all on the court –traits that have made him a favorite of Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who inserted Podziemski into the starting lineup against the Jazz on February 15 with plans to keep him there for the remainder of the season.

Brandin Podziemski Wishes Teammates Took The Game Seriously

Despite Podziemski’s best efforts, Team Pau suffered a 41-36 loss to Team Deltef, failing to qualify for the final of the Rising Stars Challenge. While the loss may not have hurt his high-profile teammates such as Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama and Hornets forward Brandon Miller, Podziemski was visibly upset with their lack of effort.

“It was pretty bad,” said Podziemski, via San Franciso Chronicle. “Nothing like the regular season… It would be nice if we took it seriously.”

Podziemski further acknowledged Team Deltef’s G-Leaguers were trying to catch the eye of NBA general managers and therefore played harder than his teammates.

“They’re playing for contracts,” admitted Podziemski. “They’re showing out in front of the whole world what they can do. Obviously, you saw it when we played them.”

The exhibition game offered a microcosm of Podziemski’s all-around game, as he stuffed the stat sheet with four assists, three points and two rebounds in just 11 minutes of action. For the Warriors, Podziemski has similarly been the “glue guy” who brings immeasurably energy on a nightly basis and does things that don’t reflect on the stat sheet. There’s a reason he leads all Warriors in plus-minus (+168) as a rookie.

Next Stop: NBA All-Star Team

Brandin Podziemski

Getty ImagesWarriors rookie Brandin Podziemski drives to the basket during a game on February 14, 2024

Besides those intangibles, Podziemski plays with an irrational confidence not usually associated with rookies. Just consider that barely minutes after taking part in the Rising Stars Challenge, he already set his sights on playing alongside the big boys in the All-Star game. Podziemski expects to be there within his third year in the league.

“By year three, I’m trying to be here on Sunday,” he said, via San Franciso Chronicle.

For good measure, Podz doubled down on his ambitious goal via X.

Following the festivities of NBA All-Star weekend, the Warriors will resume their season with a clash against the Lakers on February 22. Could Podziemski’s infectious energy help them clinch a playoff spot before April?

Currently, the Warriors are positioned to go through the play-in tournament, where they may have to defeat adversaries such as the Lakers, Mavericks and Kings just to secure a playoff berth.

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