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Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis earn late-game experience vs. Kings – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

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Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis earn late-game experience vs. Kings – NBC Sports Bay Area & California


SAN FRANCISCO – In the big picture, Wednesday’s win over the Sacramento Kings in the California Classic finale won’t matter much to the Warriors, other than the fact that it gave them a chance to hoist the inaugural Mitch Richmond Trophy.

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

For one thing, Vereen needed the two to help stem the tide after the Kings trimmed a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter to 88-84 with two minutes remaining.

On the other hand, it gave Podziemski and Jackson-Davis a chance to sharpen up on their skills for closing out games, something that Vereen believes will be critical to the future of both players and the Warriors in general.

“For our team going forward, it’s just invaluable for those two guys to get those end-of-the-game reps to see how it feels, to try to impact winning, to try to make winning plays,” said Vereen, who complimented both players for their improved conditioning. “It’s kind of tough to go away, come back to a team, integrate yourself in it, but I thought they did pretty well with that.

“At the end of the day, we got the win and they got to get some valuable reps at the end of the game.”

It was the first time that Podziemski and Jackson-Davis played in the California Classic this season. Prior to arriving for Wednesday’s game at their waterfront arena, the two men had been playing for the USA Select Team in Las Vegas, helping prepare the USA Men’s Basketball team for the upcoming Olympic games in Paris.

For Podziemski, the effort he played with in a game that had few ramifications isn’t surprising. Since joining the Warriors as the No. 19 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the kid has been a non-stop ball of fury every time he steps on the court.

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

“Being out there when the game matters most is what you want. You don’t really care about coming off the bench or starting or whatever. Being out there, being a leader, being trusted with the ball in your hands when it’s that late in the game is something I want.”

Podziemski definitely did all of that and then some against the Kings, continuing a trend that began during his rookie season.

“That’s some of the things we told him he’ll 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 and make other want to take that ride with you?”

Jackson-Davis, who tallied 11 points and six boards, also is trying to become a more vocal leader, particularly on the defensive end.

“Just glad to be back out here,” said Jackson-Davis, who missed most of the summer league last season while injured. “We have a great group, we have a lot of firepower on offense. When we move the ball, it’s hard to stop. That’s what we saw in the first half. In the second half we kind of got stagnant a little bit and let them back in, but locked in at the end and got the [win].”

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