HomeBasketball TodayPodziemski Puts on a Point Guard Show, Inches Closer to Curry's Record...

Podziemski Puts on a Point Guard Show, Inches Closer to Curry’s Record in Warriors’ Triumph over Grizzlies!

advertisement

Brandin Podziemski played floor general on Friday.

The Golden State Warriors took care of business on Friday night, beginning a critical road trip by dispatching of the severely undermanned Memphis Grizzlies in convincing 121-101 fashion.

Jonathan Kuminga picked up in February where he left off a career-altering January, scoring 29 points on more highly efficient shooting. Draymond Green did it all for the Dubs on both ends, finishing with 10 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Andrew Wiggins never quite got comfortable offensively but played dogged, disruptive defense from the opening tip, while Stephen Curry came alive late to put Memphis’ dreams of a last-gasp comeback away for good.

Anything less than a comfortable victory would’ve been disappointing for the Warriors considering the Grizzlies’ depth of injuries. But Friday’s game was more proof of concept that Golden State is finding the two-way identity its lacked throughout 2023-24, a development propelled by an overdue and highly anticipated lineup change.

After once again starting Curry, Klay Thompson, Wiggins, Kuminga and Green in Memphis, Steve Kerr made another long-awaited personnel decision. Instead of relying on Cory Joseph to run second-unit offense at point guard, Golden State kept him on the bench for the game’s duration, deploying Brandin Podziemski as the Dubs’ de facto floor general with Curry off the floor.

The result? Podziemski doled out 14 assists against the Grizzlies—not just by far the most dimes of his young career, but more than any Golden State first-year player has managed since Curry handed out a team rookie record 15 assists on February 17th, 2010.

Read also:   Tyrese Maxey makes explosive comeback in disappointing defeat

During an on-court interview with NBC Sports Bay Area after the game, Podziemski casually downplayed his nearly historic night finding teammates.

“I’m a point guard. It’s what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “It’s my job out there on the floor to get this team organized and make plays for others and let their confidence grow and blossom. There was a lot of plays I could’ve took layups, but I decided to lob it up for my teammates just to kind of get them going and in a rhythm.”

Brandin Podziemski poised to continue thriving with new-look Warriors

Steve Kerr, Brandin Podziemski, Warriors

Kerr doesn’t entirely agree with Brandin Podziemski’s own view of his positional designation. Fawning over his instincts and decision-making as a playmaker on the postgame podium, Golden State’s coach stopped short of pinning Podziemski to a single spot in the backcourt.

“Brandin’s great. He’s just a basketball player. He’s not a point, he’s not a 2-guard, he’s just a basketball player,” Kerr said. “The extra ball-handling that we have on the floor when he’s out there with Steph is really important, and then when Steph goes to the bench we really need him out there to kind of run the team. He just knows how to play, he’s had a great rookie season and he’s just getting better.”

What plays out on the floor is far more instructive than anything coaches or players say off it. Kerr’s longstanding affinity for “caretaker” veteran point guards like Joseph became the butt of Dub Nation jokes far before the Warriors signed him last summer. While Joseph’s nightly backup role amid Chris Paul’s absence has been frustrating, no one would call it surprising.

Read also:   Kings fall short in shocking loss to Zion-less Pelicans: Who's to blame?

Just like Kerr recently yanked the band-aid off Kuminga as well as his team’s “peak” starting lineup, though, it seems he’s taken the same approach to playing Podziemski at point guard. Joseph had appeared in every game since Paul went down with a broken hand in a January 5th win over the Detroit Pistons. Two-way player Lester Quinones effectively took his spot in the rotation against Memphis, rewarding Kerr’s confidence with 10 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes off the pine.

The eventual return of Paul, not to mention Moses Moody and Gary Payton II, will undoubtedly push Quinones back to the end of the bench. The Point God’s presence—assuming he’s not moved by the February 8th trade deadline, at least—will probably limit Podziemski’s time as Golden State’s primary perimeter ball-handler, too. But as long as the Warriors remain committed to prioritizing lineups featuring Wiggins, Kuming and Green up front, Podziemski is poised to continue thriving as a playmaker no matter who’s next to him in the backcourt.

No one on the roster save Green and Paul possess more natural court sense than Podziemski. He sees the game multiple steps ahead on both sides of the ball, an innate feel that makes him a game-changing “connector” for Golden State offensively. Now that the new-look Dubs are finally stringing together stops and playing in the open floor, they’re reaping all the benefits Podziemski’s elite-level processing as a transition passer, too.

Kuminga is driving the Warriors’ hopeful midseason turnaround more than anyone, with Green and his all-encompassing influence close behind. The Dubs won’t go anywhere meaningful this season unless Wiggins and Thompson scrape their realistic peaks consistently, and everything Golden State does offensively still revolves around Curry. But Brandin Podziemski’s all-court playmaking prowess is becoming an indispensable part of this team’s new winning recipe, too.

Read also:   Unleashing the Suns: NBA Playoff and Play-In Seeding Scenarios Ahead of Kings Showdown

advertisement


Source link
advertisement

RELATED ARTICLES
advertisement

Also Read