2023 NBA Draft scouting report: Brandin Podziemski

Brandin Podziemski, NBA Draft scouting report (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Brandin Podziemski, NBA Draft scouting report (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

A strong performance at the NBA Draft Combine cemented Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski as a potential first-round pick and a strong sleeper candidate. 

After barely playing as a freshman at Illinois, Brandin Podziemski transferred to Santa Clara and immediately emerged as the best player in the WCC. He was conference player of the year, averaging 19.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists as the Broncos’ primary offensive fulcrum.

Now the unheralded prospect from Wisconsin is a projected first-round pick after his strong showing at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. He faired better than expected in athletic testing and absolutely shined in scrimmages, looking the part of a high-feel playmaker and 3-point bomber who can instantly impact winning at the next level.

There will still be questions asked about Podziemski’s lack of high-level competition at Santa Clara and his unremarkable athletic profile. But it’s not uncommon for NBA teams to place too much stock into athleticism and theoretical upside instead of immediately translate skill and advanced basketball I.Q.

Brandin Podziemski NBA Draft profile

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 204 pounds
Birthdate: February 25, 2003
Position: Shooting Guard
Offensive Role: Spacer, secondary playmaker
Defensive Role: Off-ball wing
Projected Draft Range: 20-40

NBA Draft highlights


Podziemski’s most immediately translatable skill is his 3-point shooting. He found the bottom of the net on 43.8 percent of his 3-point attempts last season on almost six attempts per game. He’s absolute aces off the catch and there’s reason to buy him as a movement shooter long-term given his pristine footwork and effortless touch.

He can also torch defenders pulling up off of screens or he can worm his way into the paint before unleashing a floater. His touch is genuinely special and helps make up for a lack of burst finishing around the rim. He doesn’t have the greatest first step, but he’s good at changing speeds and using craft to gain advantages over his defender.

Jalen Brunson is an unfair comparison for any mid-to-late first-round prospect and Podziemski should not be held to that standard. He does, however, possess some of that same cleverness when it comes to carving out space with hesitations, post-ups, and various little tricks in the mid-range area.

Podziemski won’t be able to operate as his team’s go-to option in the NBA, but he’s a talented passer who processes the game at a high level and makes quick decisions with the ball. If paired with another playmaker who can put pressure on the rim, Podziemski should thrive as an automatic spot-up threat capable of attacking errant closeouts or running pick-and-roll to keep the offense flowing.

He’s also a tremendous defensive playmaker. He averaged 1.8 steals per game at Santa Clara, constantly blowing up passing lanes or sneaking from off-screen to pick pockets. He will get bullied in certain on-ball matchups, but he’s always in the right place with his head on a swivel. Podziemski plays smart and extremely hard. He averaged almost nine rebounds per game as a 6-foot-4 guard; he gets after it. Teams should value his effort.


Podziemski’s NBA ceiling will be determined in part by how well he holds up on the defensive end. He won’t get caught snoozing and he’s a brilliant team defender, but there are significant concerns about his ability to defend the point of attack at the next level.

At 6-foot-4, Podziemski isn’t very long or laterally quick. He can get burned by the first step of smaller guards and overpowered by the strength of bigger wings. NBA offenses are going to seek him out and make him work on an island, which could mean he gets played off the floor in big moments.

Those athletic concerns will factor into Podziemski’s offensive projection as well. Even average defenders will prevent him from turning the corner or putting pressure on the rim. He already relies a lot on floaters and pull-ups in the mid-range, and there’s a good chance it stays that way in the NBA. He has a bad habit of getting stranded without his dribble in the teeth of the defense, which can lead to last-second improvised floaters and hook shots that have limited success rates.


Podziemski will absolutely face a learning curve in the NBA. He was the head of the snake at Santa Clara; in the NBA, he profiles as more of an ancillary piece. That should ultimately benefit him, however, as it will limit his weaknesses (one-on-one creation) and bolster his strengths (spot-up shooting, connective playmaking).

Just last year, the Broncos produced a lottery-level rookie by the name of Jalen Williams. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and looked like a future All-Star by season’s end. There are countless other examples of players from smaller schools making the NBA jump successfully. Podziemski doesn’t have the flashiest game, but he’s extremely efficient and he doesn’t make many mistakes (1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio).

Basketball I.Q. and sheer baseline competence make it easy to believe in Podziemski as an instant-impact role player at the next level. He is the No. 17-ranked prospect on the FanSided board and teams should begin considering him as early as the back end of the lottery. He has the exact offensive and defensive skill set a lot of contenders are looking for. He can also help a rebuilding team build good habits and a competitive disposition. It’s hard to go wrong here.

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