Golden State Warriors' rookie makes history, continues to be light in otherwise dark season

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

There's been very little in the way of positives for the Golden State Warriors, particularly since their 5-1 start that's now spiralled to a 10-13 record.

Veteran starters Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney have been hugely disappointing, while Draymond Green has just been given an indefinite suspension that follows his five-game ban from earlier in the season.

Stephen Curry continues to play at an MVP-level, but even his brilliance is difficult to enjoy amid a woeful starting lineup. Over half Golden State's losses have come by four points or less, with the team seemingly incapable of closing out victories when in a dominant position.

Rookie guard Brandin Podziemski continues to be a shining light in an otherwise dark period for the Golden State Warriors

Ironically, after an offseason where they sought to further terminate their two-timeline plan, the Warrior younger plays have actually stepped up into bigger roles. Even then, many fans would argue that head coach Steve Kerr has still put an unnecessary handbrake on third-year lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

In contrast, Kerr has quickly and rightfully built immense trust in 19th overall pick Brandin Podziemski. The 20-year-old guard has been a revelation for the franchise, having averaged over 28 minutes across the last five games.

Podziemski added to his growing stature on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns, taking advantage of the poor form of his veteran teammates that saw him start the third-quarter in place of Wiggins. He scored 18 points in the second-half, finishing the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on 9-14 shooting.

Podziemski became the first Golden State rookie to have at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists since Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP did it twice in his rookie year, including an incredible 36-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist triple-double against the LA Clippers on February 10, 2010.

The Santa Clara product continues to impact the game in a variety of ways. Offensively, his scoring has improved rapidly both as a shooter and as a finisher around the rim. Podziemski is shooting 47.7% from the floor and 44.2% from three-point range on the numbers -- splits that have risen to 53.2% and 50% across the last five games.

He continues to put his body on the line to take charges on the defensive end, and is willing to fight through screens and be a pest on the ball. Podziemski is fifth among rookies in rebounds at 4.8 per game, sitting behind three centers and a forward in Ausar Thompson who each average at least 25 minutes.

Combine everything and you get the package of a winning player. Podziemski is a cumulative +67 on the floor this season, leading that category for the Warriors ahead of Chris Paul (+59) and Dario Saric (+58). That's a fact few would have thought even remotely possible heading into the season, and is equally an indictment on Golden State's veteran players but also a reflection of how good Podziemski has been to start his career.