Re: 2020 Draft
Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:32 pm
An intriguiing prospect for next summer:
SI.com Big Board 1.05. Deni Avdija, G, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210
Avdija is an exceptionally gifted playmaker who cemented his worth as a top prospect in this class with a strong showing at Basketball Without Borders back in February, winning MVP of the event and demonstrating an extremely advanced feel for passing, particularly for an 18-year-old. The hope is that he’ll get a bigger role with Maccabi’s senior team next season, and a better platform and greater challenge, but he’s good enough off the dribble at his size that it feels like point guard might be his best long-term position on offense. Avdija can pass with both hands and at different angles on the move, understands how to use ball screens, facilitates transition play naturally, and seems to be coming along at the right time, with NBA offenses fully embracing bigger, unorthodox playmakers, and with an emphasis on skill sets over traditional position structures.
Although Avdija isn’t a high-end athlete, he should at least be able to add a significant amount of upper body strength, and he has a good enough feel for team defense that he should be able to hold his own. He will have to improve as a finisher in traffic, but he’s good operating in space and can knock down set threes comfortably. He’ll have to continue improving his already-solid craft and change of pace off the dribble to survive in the faster-paced NBA, as he won’t get by purely on size or athletic ability. Regardless, Avdija is clearly one of the best players in his age group anywhere, and has the ability to be a strong all-around contributor at the NBA level down the line. In what’s shaping up to be a thin draft at the top, he has a chance to be one of the bigger prizes available if his growth continues.