Since winning the 2022 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors have been very mediocre, given the expectations they have set for themselves. The 2022-23 season saw the Warriors lose in the Western Conference Semifinals, and then Golden State failed to make the playoffs this past season via the play-in tournament. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are not getting any younger, which is why there is a concern in San Francisco about whether this team can sustain championship success. If you ask Brandin Podziemski, he will tell you that the team is just fine.

Podziemski is coming off a terrific rookie year with the Warriors, where he established himself as one of their most important secondary players. In fact, Podz was one of the reasons why Golden State was able to put themselves in a position to make the play-in tournament. A 46-36 season that did not result in a playoff appearance doesn't bode well for the Warriors' chances of competing for another title. Then again, Golden State's confidence remains high, and the belief they have instilled in their youth has led Podziemski to the conclusion that his team can win another championship.

“I think we’re very close,” the Warriors rookie recently told Willard and Dibs on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. “That’s easy to say for anybody on any team. Everyone has that belief that they can do it. But to see the old guys mixed with the new, mixed with the young, I think it’s something we can put together. Mike Dunleavy’s plan and Joe Lacob’s plan of drafting Jonathan [Kuminga] and Moses [Moody] and letting them develop, but also then drafting me and Trayce [Jackson-Davis], who had experience in college and are ready to impact.

“Meshing that together and now going into a second year with all four of us, with the combination of Steph, Klay and Draymond and whoever else is with us when the time comes, I think it’s set up for success.”

Whether or not the Warriors can get back to being true title threats near the end of their veterans' careers is dependent on what occurs this offseason. Thompson will be a free agent, Chris Paul's contract is non-guaranteed, and there are questions being asked about whether the team will ultimately look to part ways with Andrew Wiggins after his underwhelming season.

Still, Podziemski remains confident in his abilities, as well as how he can help set the Warriors up for success after a very strong rookie year.

Brandin Podziemski's rookie success leads to promising future

Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski (2) makes a layup next to Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) in the second quarter during a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at the Golden 1 Center.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Not enough good things can be said about the job Podziemski did for the Warriors this season. He may not be the biggest or the strongest guard in the league, but the toughness Podziemski displayed over the course of his first year in the league stands out.

The Warriors rookie led the league in charges drawn (38) and he showed off his versatility from his very first game. Podziemski played a total of 74 games, averaging 9.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from three-point range. He finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting and was selected to the 2023-24 NBA All-Rookie First Team as a result of his accomplishments.

While individual achievement is great, Podziemski is solely focused on the success of the Warriors as a whole. That is why his main goal is to sustain long-term playoff success.

“I want to be there. I expect myself to never not make the playoffs again in my career,” Podziemski said on 95.7 The Game. “I went to Game 5 in Milwaukee when [the Bucks] played the [Indiana] Pacers while we were at home. Just to see the environment and what it was like… Personally, I thought when we played in Sacramento, it was louder than it was in Milwaukee in the actual playoffs.

“But for me, just seeing the physicality, the toughness, how the whistle changes in the playoffs; I think it kind of fits my brand of basketball because I am a physical player on both sides of the ball. So I think that kind of fits me, and it's something I'm looking forward to, especially next year.”

Podziemski appears ready for the challenge of taking the Warriors back to the playoffs for a chance to contend for a title. The only question that remains is whether the rest of the team is prepared to do what's necessary to rekindle the franchise's quest for their fifth title since 2015.