Interesting comments from Mike Dunleavy Jr. when asked if he thinks Brandin Podziemski will be able to contribute next season.— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) June 23, 2023
Went on to say Brandin is a competitor and he expects him to try and prove him wrong. pic.twitter.com/viMHfxB1Ak
“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.
Jonathan Kuminga is making history in his rookie season.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 8, 2022
Since 1971, he's the youngest player to start a playoff game at 19 years, 213 days old. pic.twitter.com/qPzeQn7ROT
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.
The Warriors are trading Patrick Baldwin Jr. to the Wizards as part of the Chris Paul-Jordan Poole trade, sources said.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2023
However, fans who want more playing time for youngsters Kuminga and Moses Moody should be heartened: They’re not rookies anymore.