As with most NBA Drafts, there are a fair number of foreign talents that capture the eyes of NBA scouts. The highest on the board for foreign players is Deni Avdija of Israel. Not only is the the highest foreign player on the board, but some have him as a top 5 pick. What makes Avdija stand out among the other foreign and domestic players? Is he the next Luka Doncic? Let’s find out.
Strengths: Movement Without the Ball, Playmaking, Shooting
An underrated but highly affective part of basketball is moving without the ball. Being able to keep defenders guessing and confused as to where your spot is supposed to be helps in getting yourself or others open. It’s the part of Steph Curry’s game that I feel makes him so great. Yes, the logo 3s are nice, but Curry is a master of moving within an offense. Avdija has the same ability to move without the ball as Curry. He also has quick hands on the defensive side and can aid in starting fast breaks. Good handles for his size (6’9) and finds the open man regularly.
If I was making this profile earlier in the year, shooting would have been a weakness. However, Avdija has recently found a lot of success beyond the ark. It’s not like he was terrible, but there was something left to be desired. Ever since play resumed in Israel, Avdija has shot really well. Hopefully that trend continues.
Weaknesses: Off-Hand Dribbling, Free Throws
The reason why scouts were concerned with Avdija’s shooting was because his free throw percentage is awful. Nobody should be shooting in the 50% range from the free throw line, I don’t care who it is. Avdija really favors his right hand, at the expense that dribbling with his left is not as strong as a team would like. This can be fixed once he gets with a team, but it’s still a handicap that will limit his shot creation in the NBA.
Deni Avdija is a player with both an extremely high ceiling and low floor. He has the potential to develop into a secondary star, but his skills right now point more towards a role player. Fit really makes a difference here. There’s not “great” organization in the top 5 so that could hurt Avdija’s development. I had Avdija going to the Hawks but could easily see the Warriors grabbing him if they trade back. Is he the next Luka? Hard to say, but Luka had a lot of doubters when he came to the league too.