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Warriors GM doesn’t expect first-round pick to play

Brandin Podziemski was Mike Dunleavy Junior’’s first draft pick. MDJ doesn’t expect much.

2023 NBA Draft
Brandin Podziemski might need to replace his “BP” chain with a “DNP” chain for next season.
Photo by Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors took Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski with their first-round pick. But according to new Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr., fans might not see much of him next season.

“Having been around the league a long time,” Dunleavy told reporters. “I would never draft someone expecting them to play right away.”

That might be disappointing to Warriors fans who have been watching Podziemski’s Santa Clara highlights, and daydreaming about Podz coming off of a Trayce Jackson-Davis screen and catching a crisp Chris Paul pass to sink a three-pointer. The man who picked him said that’s probably not going to happen.

Dunleavy went on to explain that he thought this was true for all rookies when they reached the NBA - not Podziemski specifically.

“There’s too many challenges. There’s too much going on,” Dunleavy said. “If you can find a way to play? Great. Gravy on top.”

It doesn’t matter if the player is “19, 21, 25, whatever,” Dunleavy continued, perhaps pre-empting questions about whether the Warriors considered taking a player older than the 20-year-old Podziemski. Rumors persist that the Warriors were trying to move up to get four-year UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., who the Miami Heat selected one pick ahead of the Warriors at No. 18, but perhaps Dunleavy wouldn’t have expected Jaquez to play either.

Historically, it’s fairly rare for rookies and young players to contribute to contending NBA teams. When Jonathan Kuminga started in last year’s playoffs, he was the youngest player to do so in over 50 years.

Dunleavy is clearly no longer pursuing the infamous “two-timeline strategy” from last season. If that wasn’t already apparent when he traded 24-year-old Jordan Poole and 20-year-old Ryan Rollins for 38-year-old Chris Paul, it became crystal-clear with his comments about Podziemski. Or when we learned 20-year-old Patrick Baldwin, Jr. was also headed to the Wizards.

However, fans who want more playing time for youngsters Kuminga and Moses Moody should be heartened: They’re not rookies anymore.

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