One of the big risers of this draft, Brandin Podziemski should be another target for the Miami Heat with the 18th pick. His evolution throughout the year at Santa Clara was noticeable, as he kept climbing big boards, after transferring from Illinois. A special shooter at the guard position the Heat could look to in order to renew their backcourt.
Measured at just under 6’5 and with a 6’5 ½ wingspan, Podziemski doesn’t really pop physically. He’s not a high-flyer who will soar above defenders, in fact he doesn’t really possess much verticality, playing his game closest to the floor. This has turned him into a better user of his footwork to be able to get baskets. His lower body strength impresses, as he can use that to keep bigger guys out of rebounds and even front them in the post and create problems.
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That 3-point shooting looks pretty good, huh? Outside shooting is obviously Podziemski’s calling card and his main skill entering the league. He’s a special shooter, one of the best in the class. Can score in a variety of ways from outside and has really high gravity. Can pull up or sidestep into a three off pick and rolls or isolations, with quick shooting mechanics. His lack of vertical pop allows him to shoot quicker, even if the release is not that high. Podziemski, 20, can also shoot coming off the ball, spotting up or coming off screens and handoffs into shots. Needs to find a way to get more separation off screens/DHOs to succeed at the NBA level.
Brandin can get into the paint, using his jab step to create separation, due to the danger of him just pulling up or after pick and rolls, going mainly left and can maintain his defender on his hip. He won’t get all the way to the rim to take on rim protectors, as he lacks the necessary strength and pop to finish above defenders. Instead, he will stop for little floaters/push shots or go for a two-step finish before arriving at the rim.
He will push pace either by bringing the ball up or finding a colleague on the wing for an easy finish. Tries to find teammates on his drives, is able to throw some cross-court passes but will most likely assist the man closest to him, as he doesn’t get all the way near the rim. Plays within the rhythm of the offense and doesn’t try to force too much, but looks for opportunities to score, being a scorer in nature.
Interesting offensive rebounder, posted really good numbers at Santa Clara. Comes off the weak side to snatch rebounds and give his team extra possessions and uses his leg strength to push defenders and win his position. Really aggressive and instinctive on offensive rebounds, despite his size.
The defensive side of the ball should dictate much of what Brandin’s career looks like. He’s not especially tall or long, doesn’t jump out of the building and is not that quick moving his feet. Aggressiveness and grit will only get you so far, but there’s a talent in knowing how to use angles and how to force players into taking shots they don’t want. And Podziemski can use that. His leg strength gives him something, he can move screeners and navigate them much better by forcing his position and denying entry passes by pushing players out of the paint. He does that on rebounds to win his space and collect more boards than a player his size is supposed to.
More skilled guards got the best of him in college on isolations, with their speed with the ball proving to be too much for Podziemski. So, forcing them into uncomfortable spots and being physical should put him in a better position, while he works on becoming a bit better moving his feet. There’s really no notes for Brandin Podziemski off the ball. He won’t impress you with advanced reading, but won’t put your team in a disadvantage by constantly being lost, out of position or late. He does his job and can also fight with stronger guys, but don’t ask him to constantly switch or be the leader in passing lane steals.
Stats (per 36): 21.1 PTS | 50.6% 2FG (9.3 ATT) | 42.5% 3FG (6.3 ATT) | 76.9% FT (4.7 ATT) | 9.5 REB | 2.1 OREB | 3.9 AST | 1.9 STL | 2.5 TOV | 0.5 BLK | 24.8% USG
The Heat should be enticed by Podziemski’s skill set while being able to trade down, with the Santa Clara guard not being projected to go in the top 20 by many outlets. The Heat need shooting and will always look for shooting, so Podziemski makes sense right there. With the uncertainty around their backcourt next season, Podziemski will be able to bring some ball creation and outside shooting to put around Butler and Bam, while also having a player that can push pace and guarantee some easy buckets. Defense and playmaking should be the first items on his “to work on” list entering the NBA. Brandin Podziemski is projected to be a late first-round pick in this year’s draft.