Deni Avdija to spend offseason training with NBA skills coach Drew Hanlen

Wizards forward Deni Avdija will train with NBA skills trainer Drew Hanlen over the course of a multiple this offseason, Wizards insider Quinton Mayo reported May 28. Hanlen has trained some of the NBA’s most renowned scorers, including Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid — this year’s MVP runner-up) and the Wizards own Bradley Beal.

Heading into his third year in the NBA, this summer marks Avdija’s first full offseason, having spent last summer rehabbing from an ankle fracture he suffered in April of 2020. Avdija and Hanlen will reportedly work primarily on Avdija’s shooting — one of the Israeli’s weakest skills. Avdija shot 31.7% from behind the three-point line last season and 43.2% from two. That percentage put him dead last among qualifying small forwards (players who made at least 82 three-pointers on the season), according to ESPN.


WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 30: Deni Avdija #9 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Beal, who trained with Hanlen early on in his basketball career in St. Louis, credits Hanlen with helping develop much of his scoring prowess. Hanlen and Beal started training together back when the pair were both in high school and have worked together ever since.

Hanlen has a strong relationship with the Wizards organization, having also worked with Kelly Oubre while he was in Washington. Hanlen has also helped develop other talented scorers like Zach LaVine and Jordan Clarkson.

As a player whose on-court impact mostly comes from defense, it sounds like Avdija is focused on improving his play on the other side of the ball — helping to add viable shooting to the Wizards roster around Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis and carve out playing time amidst the logjam the Wizards have at forward. Fans will look forward to seeing the former ninth overall pick round out his offensive game to match the defensive presence he displayed throughout the 2021-22 campaign.