• Derek Murray

Deni Avdija

Small Forward, 6’8 - 215lbs

Maccabi Tel Aviv/2001

Draft Range: 3-10

Avdija projects as a player you can build your team around. He’s an excellent playmaker & skilled scorer on offense, and his decision making is improving, leading that he should defend multiple positions at the next level. He’s a big, fluid kid and is already comfortable being the go-to guy on his team. His body language is something to watch as he wears his emotions on his sleeve for better and worse. He’s uber competitive and can fire up his teammates which is a positive, but there are times that he sulks or seems upset when he isn’t playing well.

DA is going to be an interesting prospect in 2020; some scouts see him as a Top-5 pick and star player in the NBA, while others think he’s just a solid role player who will contribute in multiple areas.

Athleticism: He’s a big, lean 6’8 at 215lbs. Average wingspan with an 8’10 standing reach but he uses what he’s got to his advantage in all facets. My concern physically is his explosiveness. When driving downhill he uses his frame to bump defenders off and he’s able to extend over/around the defense, but you rarely see him jump over anyone. Lateral quickness is plus & he changes speeds effectively, but without added strength he won’t be able to “out athlete” at the next level like he has been lately.

Offense: DA is a complete creator & playmaker. He can shoot, handle in the pick-and-roll, and distribute for his teammates with excellent passes. In PnR, he’s tall enough to see over most defenders, and his anticipation and IQ are plus so he passes teammates open. When Avdija gets out and pushes in transition his decision making is really fast & with the respect that he commands as a scorer, the possession usually ends in points. He’s not the greatest finisher right now but he remains effective due to his length. I really like the way he handles and drives the lane in isolation; when he fully extends his shot is really difficult to block as he’s crafty in the air.

DA’s shooting will be a focal point this year since his shot selection is not always ideal. He’ll fire up threes way too early in the shot clock sometimes. Whether it’s confidence or in-game emotion that causes this I’m not sure, but the decision making here will need to improve. What we know for sure is that he has the ability to hit those deep shots. He hit 28.6% in this tournament on a variety of pull ups, catch-and-shoots, and step backs. The talent is there, just need to hone in on the selection.

Defense: Avdija is a really disciplined defender. Watching his film from 2019 FIBA U20 leads me to believe he can defend 2-4 in the NBA. He showed good feet, strong instincts, and a knack for positioning himself to contest. DA often made things difficult for opposing guards on switches; he spaced well and a number of times the passer hesitated because there wasn't room to either pass or shoot. While you can't call him a "shot blocker", Avidja anticipates and times his jumps really well; averaged 2.4 blocks per contest. He's already got switchabilty - if he can get stronger and become more explosive, he should be able to guard SG - PF at the next level.

Swing Skill: Explosiveness & shot selection.

Photo via eurohoops.net

Overall: I really like Avdija because he is multidimensional. At 18 years old, he’s an excellent playmaker on offense, showing that he can create for both himself and others. He can guard multiple positions & does a great job at contesting shots on the perimeter and at the basket. I like that he’s ultra-competitive and emotions can be great, but I do hope to see a reduction in rushed shots and body language when things are going poorly. If DA has a solid 2019 in Israel, we could see him drafted as high as 3 in the NBA Draft.

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