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Brandin Podziemski drafted at #19 by Warriors! Update: GSW drafts Trayce Jackson-Davis at #57; Patrick Baldwin Jr traded to Wizards
Steal Jackson-Davis at #57 (yahoo!), trade PBJ (boo)
UPDATE. A big victory for the analytics department, as Trayce Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski (#19) are two of the most productive college players that analytics people project as NBA worthy who also look not athletic enough for the NBA.
To be sure, he's athletic in the sense he can get up for lobs and block shots. It's fairer to say he's considered too short and too slow on the perimeter, plus bad jumper. I'm personally thrilled about the pick.
TJD and Podz were both added by me to our Draft Tourney as wild cards exactly because they were older analytics darlings and it seemed plausible that GSW might value them more than others.
Slater says: The Warriors, per @ShamsCharania are essentially flipping the Patrick Baldwin Jr. roster spot (and first round contract) for Trayce Jackson-Davis on a cheaper second round contract. Older prospect. This part of CP-Poole trade will be judged on which player is better quicker.
Shams: Sources: The Warriors are acquiring the No. 57 pick from Washington and taking Trayce Jackson-Davis.
The long shot, the guy that I forced into our Draft Tourney in the last Wild Card spot…
Ultra polarizing, and we’ll have more thorough thoughts tomorrow.
Brandin Podziemski, 20, 6-5 So. SG, Santa Clara
A transfer who hardly played his freshman season for Illinois, Podziemski blew up in the WCC for mid-major Santa Clara. He profiles as an all-offense, no-defense guy whose success will likely be determined by whether he can kinda sorta hold his own on defense or whether he’ll just be totally eviscerated.
There are definite shortcomings here, although you won’t find them in the stats — Podziemski’s rates of steals, blocks and rebounds actually compare quite well with players of far greater pedigree. The tape doesn’t lie, however: Blow-bys were common, and Podziemski will be giving up inches to virtually any wing he checks (I think his listing at 6-5 will be proven generous). The shred of good news is that he does have some late closing ability to rise up and contest or block shots from behind.
Offensively, however, Podziemski can shine as a secondary creator. The lefty is a deadly 3-point shooter (43.8 percent this past season); that may be a slight outlier based on his 77.1 percent free-throw mark, but the eye test is that he is a money shooter reminiscent of Luke Kennard. Podziemski also is a good passer off the dribble who can function in secondary pick-and-rolls.
A guy like this won’t make it without at least one magic trick up his sleeve, and Podziemski has it: an unworldly floater game, perhaps the best of any draft prospect since Trae Young. He launches them from different angles and approaches, needing little room to unleash glorious parabolas that softly splash through the net on angel’s wings; if he outperforms, this part of his game will likely be a huge piece.
18. Brandin Podziemski (Dean on Draft)
Podz was the #79 RSCI freshman last season, but could only manage 66 total minutes on an experienced Illinois team. So he hit the transfer portal and has spent his sophomore season at Santa Clara where he has flourished.
He is a 6’5 SG with a crafty offensive game where offers a bit of everything. He can handle, pass, and shoot, and has been highly efficient as a lead guard for a solid Santa Clara team.
His downside is that he is not particularly quick or athletic, and may struggle to defend quicker guards in the NBA. But he does have good instincts that have helped him generate a good 3.1% steal rate, and he has a strong frame and excellent motor that has helped him rebound exceptionally well for a guard. He is constantly chasing loose balls and diving on the floor.
He may be a liability on defense, but he has enough redeeming qualities such that he may not necessarily be a disaster on that end. His team defense has been much better with him on the floor, and he is not that bad of an athlete. For instance– he has 5 dunks and 10 blocks on the season compared to projected lottery pick Keyonte George who has 1 dunk and 4 blocks, but nobody is questioning George’s athleticism.
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that a not super athletic mid-major player has limited upside. But let’s take a moment to compare Podz to the best Santa Clara alum in NBA history at the same age, per 100 possessions:
They aren’t exactly the same mold– Nash higher assist rate shows that he was more of a pure PG, and his higher 3PA rate and FT% suggests that Podz isn’t quite on his level as a shooter.
But on the flipside, Podz creates offense in the arc at a higher volume and efficiency, and in spite of his lower assist rate and higher scoring output, he has a better assist:TOV rate than Nash. He has been excellent at avoiding turnovers in spite of his large offensive role, and his passing looks better than his assist rate suggests. He likely could play a more PG type role if he was willing to make more risky passes that may result in a turnover.
And of course this doesn’t even touch on Podz being 2″ taller with more steals and blocks and more than 2x times as many rebounds.
Granted, this doesn’t mean that he is necessarily going to be as good or better than Nash. He hardly looked like a future NBA star at this stage, and there are plenty of mid-major prospects who posted similar or better numbers to Nash at this age who failed to amount to anything in the NBA.
But this should dispel the notion that Podz is a low upside player because he plays for a mid-major. There is a reasonable case to be made that he is the highest upside SG in the draft. Nick Smith (#6) and Keyonte George (#9) rate much higher than Podz (#84) on ESPN’s board, but outside of being 5* recruits and almost a year younger, there is not much to point at that gives them more potential.
As mentioned earlier, his greater dunk and block total suggests he may be a better athlete than George, and on the court George does not do anything that Podz does not. Podz may be a bit less athletic than Nick Smith, but not by a huge margin as Smith is often pulling up for floaters and mid-range shots instead of getting all the way to the rim. And Podz atones with a stronger frame and better basketball IQ.
And even though they have better recruiting pedigree, Podz was a 4* who initially committed to a good high major team. He had good pedigree himself.
And let’s not even get started on the twins ranked 3rd and 4th who are hardly posting better stats against joke tier competition while being a month older than Podz has put up vs a solid NCAA schedule.
The only real concern is if his inability to get any minutes as a freshman for Illinois is indicative of some deeper flaw. So let’s see how the rest of the season unfolds before actively declaring him as the best SG in the class. But if he sustains his current level of production down the stretch, he has a serious case as being the best SG in the class and one of the few interesting non-freshmen in this draft crop.
O’Conner at https://nbadraft.theringer.com:
Donte DiVincenzo and D’Angelo Russell blended
Feel for the Game
Knockdown shooter off the catch. He’s best in spot-up situations, though he’s shown the ability to hit off movement. It may only be a matter of time until he becomes a more dynamic scorer coming off screens.
Displays pillowy-soft touch when tossing up teardrop floaters and hook shots that, even when heavily contested, miraculously swish through the net.
Primary shot creator for Santa Clara. He needs to improve his quickness but has shown a good feel for using hesitations, spins, and smooth footwork to generate space.
Skilled playmaker who can rapidly diagnose defenses and deliver on-target passes straight off the dribble. He limits turnovers, too.
Comfortable with his back to the basket. He has a diverse set of moves in the post. A creative coach could find a variety of ways to use him.
Outstanding rebounder for a guard, with a magnetic feel for tracking the trajectory of boards. He also brings toughness when boxing out opponents and a general tenacity on defense.
Active off-ball defender who racks up steals and blocks.
Struggled creating advantages off the dribble against lengthier defenders due to his slow first step, limited burst, and lack of length. He also doesn’t have a ball-on-the-string handle, so he tends to get caught in tough spots rather than being able to keep his dribble alive.
What’s his position on defense? He’s a subpar on-ball defender who got roasted by quicker players even when facing lower level of competition. He’s not big or strong enough to defend slower-footed guys, either.
13. Trayce Jackson-Davis (Dean on Draft)
At a certain point we need to pause from taking mediocre freshmen and take a good upperclassman.
Trayce is having a monster senior year for Indiana. He is currently posting the 7th best BPM in the past 5 years at 14.6. He turns 23 in February so he needs to be great, but he has some shades of Brandon Clarke who was also an old, undersized and highly productive big when he was drafted:
Clarke was one of the few players in the past 5 years to post a higher BPM than Trayce thus far at 16.3, and overall had a slightly more productive senior season on the heals of his insane efficiency inside the arc, making 70.5% from 2. But Trayce is a better rebounder and passer, and has a reported 7’2 wingspan compared to Clarke’s 6’8.
While he is not a guarantee to match Clarke’s productivity as a role player, there is no clear obstacle blocking him from success. He is long, smooth, athletic, and highly productive. It’s scary that he is a 23 year old undersized big who doesn’t shoot 3’s, but the same was true for Clarke and he was Memphis’s best player in their opening round playoff series win vs Minnesota last year.
It’s a limited mold, but it is not a fatally flawed mold. And at a certain point it is worth taking the good players in less desired molds over the bad players in highly desirable molds. Perhaps this is a bit too soon for TJD, but it is hard to underemphasize that the draft is mostly terrible at this point and there are not many compelling choices to rank above him.
Despite promises year after year, those results never came. TJD was thrown into the post time and time again at Indiana, with an entire offense formatted around getting him touches on the block where he can use his left hand to finish. We kept hearing he’d work on a shot during the offseason, then come back the next year and be allergic to taking jumpers.
The college arsenal has always been post-up-driven. His right hand has never improved. And he still doesn’t take jump shots. But going into his senior season with the Hoosiers, Jackson-Davis finally added a new element to his game that could silence those criticisms about a lack of evolution.
He became a skilled passer and facilitator atop the key, a rebound-and-run threat, and a guy who can break down a defense in a variety of ways.
With that in his arsenal, the offensive output for TJD has changed. He’s not longer an undersized roll man who can’t use his right or shoot. He’s a mismatch threat against stiffer bigs due to his ability to take them off the bounce and make the right team play. He can pass or score it, patient but bursty and crafty yet explosive.
Those skills, combined with consistent improvement on defensive discipline, made him such an impactful two-way player. Jackson-Davis led the nation in BPM this year, according to Barttorvik, and is just the 17th player since Barttorvik began calculating advanced stats to have a BPM over 14 in a single season.
There are still questions about how Jackson-Davis, an undersized post player without enough perimeter skill to truly play on the wing, is going to translate in the NBA. After this most recent year at Indiana (and with how undeniably impactful he was), there’s at least an easier path to seeing how he can positively impact the game at the 5.
I’m skeptical about TJD’s fit in the NBA. I have been for a long period of time. The skill gains as a handler and creator help, but they don’t feel as quick in terms of processing speed or advantage exploitation as I’d like them to be. He’s a tad undersized, and while he can be effective on both ends of the floor, I don’t see enough versatility or overall impactfulness to offset said absent versatility that would get me to buy into TJD as a first-round pick.
That said, I understand the appeal of him over many other bigs in this class. The right fit — a team which provides the exact structures he needs to succeed on offense and defense — could cause him to go in the 25-30 range or become a high-value second round guy.
Two teams really stand out as great fits in that regard. One is Sacramento, where he can play as a short roll piece next to De’Aaron Fox or be enabled to handle and create just like Domantas Sabonis. There’s value for the Kings in having a similar-ish type of player on the bench to dust off in games Sabonis doesn’t play. The other team is Boston, where his feel and processing work in their system and he is about as switchable of a big as you’ll find in the second round. He’d benefit a ton from behind around Al Horford for a year.
My skepticism over his NBA fit exists so long as Jackson-Davis remains a complete non-shooter. It’s just really hard to be an undersized, non-shooting big in the NBA these days, which makes it a high bar for TJD to clear for rotational impact.
Bonus video of NBA Combine workout at
O’Conner at https://nbadraft.theringer.com:
High-flying lefty center who plays with an edge and intimidates opponents near the rim.
Constant lob threat. Indiana runs screening plays to get him skying toward the rim.
Primarily a post scorer in college. Although that won’t be his role in the NBA, it’s still a valuable tool. He can dribble into post-ups and expose mismatches. And he’s excellent at sealing off defenders under the rim to create easy scoring chances.
Displays soft touch on hook shots and floaters.
Helpful playmaker who can bring the ball up the floor to initiate dribble handoff actions. With his rolling ability, his value will be heightened when he’s paired with shooters who can deliver accurate passes. He does a good job of throwing cross-court passes in the post to shooters, a skill that can translate to any spot or situation on the floor.
Quick second-leaping ability enhances his chances of making plays around the basket—whether he’s fighting for putbacks on offense, or altering shots on defense.
Scheme-versatile defender who is effective in drop coverage because of his great athleticism and coordination blocking shots, but he’s also agile enough to comfortably switch screens.
Left-hand-dominant player. The ball rarely even touches his right hand unless he’s dunking with both hands.
Unproven shooter. He’s making only 67.5 percent of his free throws in his college career, and he has attempted only three shots from behind the arc, missing all of them.
Undersized centers will always have limitations in certain matchups. If he needs to be paired with a beefy big to match up against someone like Nikola Jokic, then it may suffocate offensive spacing unless that teammate can also shoot 3s. Otherwise, it’s important for TJD to acquire that skill himself.
More Dean on Draft:
TJD is bit of an awkward NBA mold as an undersized center, measuring 6’8.25” without shoes with a 7’1 wingspan. But we are a few years removed from seeing Brandon Clarke provide solid late first in a similar mold but even smaller, measuring 1” shorter and 4.75” less wingspan.
Clarke was more efficient with a ridiculous 70.3% 2P to Trayce’s 58.2%, but TJD offers higher scoring volume and nearly 2x the assist rate, with 6.8 assists per 100 compared to Clarke’s 3.8.
It’s difficult to say if TJD has the footspeed to cut it as an NBA defensive player, and his steal and block rates are lower than Clarke’s. But 2.9 blocks per game over 34.5 minutes is a high enough rate to give him outs to be a reasonable rim protector, and offensively he can be used as a creator, roll man, or garbage man.
He has been a high level starter for all 4 years at Indiana. Even though his mold is suboptimal, at some point it is difficult to deny his productivity, as it is easy to envision him as a useful NBA rotation player like Clarke.
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