UcanUwill wrote: Taller forward version of Dante Exum. But I dont know really, he played so little and had insignificant role in PROS, I really wouldnt be surprised if hes a huge bust. He reminds me of Exum, where his main selling point from junior tournaments was his playmaker ball handler ability, but is off hand is so weak, you really do not want him to handle the ball at pro level. I mean Exum had injuries, maybe he could have been good, and Avdija is much taller therefor not so dependent on handle.
But I just warn everyone who drafts Euros for good FIBA juniors play when they simultaneously suck in Euroleague or other PRO league. It almost never work out. FIBA juniors is comparable to college, brobably even worse than tier 1 college competition. And with college kids, we have busts all the time, even best college players can be busts. And its the same think with FIBA juniors superstars, and I think their play on EL teams is blatant sneak peak of how they will translate, and so far Avdija hasn't shown anything worthy to believe he is not a bust to me. I know that hes young and teams like raw prospects they can shape, but this is not video game where you train what you want and you gained those skills 100%.
I think you should expect tall Exum, or fast Kyle Anderson, I dont think his offense will be much better than that, its his defense I think will make or break his career.
This is how we should evaluate a prospect? according to how he performs in the second best league in the world, as a 18-19 years old, in a contender team that have a lot of expectations to win now and don't care too much about developing a prospect that is gonna be gone anyway in the next year? I thought about it a lot, and always asking myself whether the other top prospects from this year's draft would be convincing enough to consider them as a top 5 prospects just based on this condition. I'm pretty sure their numbers, their skills and their highlights would be reduced drastically to the point they would look nothing special.
Just imagine putting LaMelo on a situation like this, could he even be able to stay on the flour and see any minutes when he has to play defense each minute and when his shooting is so weak at this point? would he have the same confidence to show off his skills? is someone like Hayes who played in the weakest team in the EuroCup could make such a huge jump and successfully play for one of the best 5 teams in Europe when the expectations, the winning pressure, the defense requirements are so much higher? when we trying to evalue Deni based on his EuroLeague performances, we need to be honest with ourselves and imagine how the other prospects would perform at the same situation as well.
Now, the reason I made your sentence bold is because I have no other choice but to really disagree with the claim that he simultaneously sucked in Euroleague and in his other PRO league, and I'll explain why.
I'll make it clear, Deni didn't start the year well, it was a hard adjustment for him in the EuroLeague and it took time for him to start and make a good impact, I'd also take into account this year was his first full senior season (last year he had some EuroLeauge games but he was still belong to the youth team and wasn't completely with the senior team). but the more the season was progressing the more he make an impressive improvement. If someone can deny that, he 'will probably deny anything related to him and just decide he doesn't like this player and nothing will change his mind.
I checked his minutes and his production and there is a clear evidence he was at his peak in the last 2 months. Which means, he could get better and better:
His 'pro league' numbers the last 8 games, when he started to get big minutes consistently :
30mpg, 16.6 ppg. while having the best BPM on the team (6-2 winning record in this stretch).
You see here numbers of a teen that played a major role in a winning team and had a great impact even in comparison to his high level teammates.
His EuroLeague numbers the last 7 games, when he started to get big minutes consistently :
20mpg, 7.5ppg, while having the best BPM on the team (5-2 winning record in this stretch).
The numbers are less impressive, but still, you see here a teen that is playing 20mpg and scoring some buckets in one of the 5 best teams in Europe, with all the pressure involved, in the second best league in the world. While also having the best plus minus among all the other players which make his positive impact undeniable. I'd also add that he became one of Maccabi's 2-3 best defenders in this games stretch. But that's something you can tell only from an eye test and not by his stats.I read here somewhere that when Maccabi faced injuries he failed to take this opportunity. The last few paragraphs explains why this claim was so misleading.
Now, I believe these numbers are showing this is his current level -right now - in a more accurate way than his season stats suggesting because of the adjustment required for a player his age and his situation. It also shows a positive progressing and his ability to get better and improve.
Now, about his future at the NBA. Personally I think it's really down to how much he can improve his handles. If he can tighten it up to the point he can run an offense consistently at the next level, I think it will skyrocket his ceiling. Unlike some others here, I see with him a high scoring potential (but again, this is down to how much he can tighten up his handles) because of the combination of his size, various ways to make points, offensive agility and speed and the ball handling flashes he has shown that gives me hope there are a lot there you can keep develop. He lacks confidence with his left hand, it needs work, but I've seen him enough times using it and driving with it in a good way to make me believe he can develop it to the point he would probably not be a high level handler with his left, but still good enough.
Something worth to mention, one month ago I was reading an interview with the coach who coached Deni at the FIBA U-20 tournament and know him for many years, his name is Ariel Beit-Halahmy, I quoting his exact words: "In the NBA they view him as a 4 but this is a mistake. He's a guard." This is not some idiot person but someone who is coaching pro basketball for up to 20 years and saw Deni's skills from very closely. If he think someone his size can successfully play as a guard at the next level, it's for a good reason.