Deni Avdija’s Development as a Basketball Player

Deni Avdija of the Washington Wizards handles the rock against the New York Knicks (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)
Deni Avdija of the Washington Wizards handles the rock against the New York Knicks (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images) /

Once upon a time, Deni Avdija was compared to Luka Doncic. He is a very good player but talents like Doncic don’t come around too often. But Avdija has shown flashes of basketball brilliance at times this season, and it has been in short spurts. His rollercoaster season has seen him as a starter and has also seen him coming off the bench.

Deni Avdija is averaging 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on the season. So far these are all career highs. He had a career night against the San Antonio Spurs on January 30, posting 25 points in 33 minutes for their sixth straight win at the time. But the very next game, he only scored 2 points while played 15 minutes, which resulted in a loss to the Portland Trailblazers. This just shows that Avdija needs to be a part of the offense more if the Wizards want to be successful.

He does need to be more aggressive with his opportunities which will earn him more minutes as well. He is not the best scorer on the team, but he does excel at different areas of the game. He’s had a 20-rebound game in January and also a 10-assist game in November. So, Avdija has shown flashes but the aim for him should be earning more minutes by being more consistent and aggressive with his touches.

One way Deni can earn more minutes is on the defensive end. He has the tools to be an elite defender in this league, blessed at 6-foot-9, 210 pounds. He can play inside to be physical and grab boards but is still also quick enough to guard perimeter players. His defensive win shares of 2.0 is the second best on the team this season. His impact defensively is felt and that can be something he leans on for his future. Teams need that big defender who can switch onto multiple positions. His rebounding is at 6.3 which ranks third on the team. His total rebounding percentage is at 13.6, fourth on the team.

The defensive rebounding percentage is what really stands out though. His 21.7 DRB% ranks second on the team (Vernon Carey- 30.5 in 11 games). That stat is best for 33rd in the entire league but it is first amongst all small forwards this season. As far as TRB% amongst small forwards, he is second behind Josh Hart. Those rebounding numbers shows that Deni is an elite rebounder and can count on that being a staple for his team. He does need to become more disciplined as his 185 personals fouls on the season is ranked for 19th.

Deni’s assists per game (2.5) is sixth best but it can be higher if more sets were ran for him to run the offense. His usage rate is ninth best for the team at 16.2 despite having the fourth most total assists on the team at 161. With his combo of rebounding and passing, he would get the rebound and bring it up then make the right basketball play. Deni can look at players like Draymond Green who have become a multidimensional force on defense and playmaking as a blueprint for his skill set.

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