While the Golden State Warriors have struggled with a 15-17 record that sits them 11th in the Western Conference, they'd actually be in a far worse position if not for surprising impact from both their 2023 draft selections.
Brandin Podziemski has averaged over 23 minutes for the Warriors this season, including eight starts since the indefinite suspension to Draymond Green. The do-it-all guard has averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and a steal per game, while also shooting over 40% from three point-range and developing into one of the best charge drawers in the league.
Jackson-Davis, on the other hand, had to wait a little longer for his opportunity. Yet he too has benefitted from Green's absence, exploding into the rotation and impressing to the point where he now looks like Golden State's starting center.
Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis are already looking like two major steals from the 2023 Draft class
Although evaluating rookie talent less than halfway through their rookie season is fraught with danger, there's little doubt about the Warrior pair and their stature as steals within the 2023 class.
In an early 2023 redraft, Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey has both Golden State rookies going within the lottery. Jackson-Davis surges up to the 14th overall pick, nothing short of remarkable given he was the 57th pick and second-last player taken on draft night.
"Per-possession or per-minute production doesn't always stay at the same level when a player gets a bigger role, and Jackson-Davis only recently cracked the Golden State Warriors' rotation, but he's top-100 in box plus/minus with averages of 15.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per 75 possessions."- Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report
Meanwhile, Podziemski slices his way into the top 10 and to the seventh overall pick after originally being taken at 19. As Bailey notes, the 20-year-old's impact to Golden State can't be understated despite his youthfulness.
""He does a little bit of everything on offense, including, perhaps most importantly, create for teammates, and his willingness to be one of those cliche "does all the little things" guys is having a real impact on the Warriors.""
Jaime Jaquez Jr., who the Warriors saw last week and who was taken one pick before Podziemski, was the other big climber having moved up to fourth overall. Victor Wembanyama and Brandon Miller remained as the first and second pick.
Regardless of how this season pans out for Golden State, they can at the very least look back and consider themselves a major winner of the 2023 Draft -- a credit to Mike Dunleavy Jr. who was brand new to the job when it took place.