Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis gain experience in final game against Kings – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SAN FRANCISCO – In the grand scheme of things, Wednesday’s win over the Sacramento Kings in the final of the California Classic won’t mean much to the Warriors, other than the fact that it gave them a chance to lift the inaugural Mitch Richmond Trophy.

Still, it was important enough that Golden State coach Anthony Vereen left summer league veterans Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis on the court in the final minutes of the Warriors’ 91-90 win at Chase Center.

Vereen needed the two to turn the tide after the Kings had cut a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to 88-84 with two minutes left.

On the other hand, it gave Podziemski and Jackson-Davis the chance to improve their game-ending skills, something Vereen believes is crucial for the future of both players and the Warriors as a whole.

“For our team, it’s invaluable to have those two guys get those end-of-game rehearsals to see how it feels, to try to influence the win, to try to make winning plays,” said Vereen, who credited both players for their improved conditioning. “It’s pretty tough to go away, come back into a team, integrate yourself, but I thought they did a pretty good job.

“In the end we won and they were able to get valuable reps at the end of the game.”

It was the first time Podziemski and Jackson-Davis played in the California Classic this season. Before arriving at their waterfront arena for Wednesday’s game, the two men played for the USA Select Team in Las Vegas, where they helped prepare the USA Men’s Basketball team for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

For Podziemski, the effort he put into a game that had little consequence comes as no surprise. Since joining the Warriors with the 19th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the kid has been a nonstop ball of rage every time he steps onto the court.

“I love playing in these games,” Podziemski said after scoring 15 points and four assists against the Kings. “A lot of guys are trying to get contracts, so they’re coming out on top. That’s all you can ask for from a competitive standpoint. It was good to play against those guys.

“Being there when the game is most important, that’s what you want. You don’t really care if you come off the bench or start or whatever. Being there, being a leader, having the confidence with the ball when it’s so late in the game, that’s what I want.”

Podziemski certainly did all that and more against the Kings, continuing the trend he set in his debut season.

“Those are some of the things we told him that he’s going to be judged on,” Vereen said. “How can you inspire and motivate others to play with you? We know you’re going to play hard, we know you’re going to try to play the right way, but how can you engage others and make them want to take that ride with you?”

Jackson-Davis, who had 11 points and six rebounds, is also trying to become a more outspoken leader, especially on defense.

“I’m just happy to be back here,” said Jackson-Davis, who missed most of last season’s summer league with an injury. “We’ve got a great group, we’ve got a lot of firepower on offense. When we move the ball, it’s hard to stop them. We saw that in the first half. In the second half, we kind of stalled and let them come back in, but at the end we got into the game and got the [win].”

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