The Washington Wizards are off to a disastrous start, sitting at 1-5 with the worst point differential in the NBA. There are plenty of reasons why the Wizards are struggling so immensely, and no one individual should be blamed for the discouraging performances. However, it’s still worth taking stock of how players are performing relative to expectations.
Let’s highlight two players who have elevated their stocks despite the team’s performance and two Wizards who have contributed to their team’s struggles with poor showings.
Stock soaring: Deni Avdija
Deni Avdija is finally here. In his fourth season in the NBA, the 22-year-old Israeli forward has finally taken the forward step the Wizards fans have been waiting for. He is averaging career-highs in points, assists, and steals per game, while having his most efficient shooting season, despite only playing 24 minutes per game. There is an argument to be made for him being the best all-around performer on the team through six games.
Avdija’s leap has come on the offensive end. He looks more confident and aggressive shooting the ball and attacking the basket. He is shooting 50% from three and 57% from the field while averaging 13.7 points per game. The three-point shooting is likely unsustainable, but if he keeps taking and making them at a respectable clip, he will get guarded out there, which in turn will open up the driving lanes for him. As the longest-tenured Wizards player on the roster, he is showing exemplary leadership, taking charge of the offense when the team needs it.
If the Wizards are able to keep games close, Avdija’s minutes per game will jump. This will push his scoring and passing numbers up. Unfortunately, with all the blowouts, he ends up sitting in the fourth quarters, not being able to offer a glimpse of what he can do in the clutch. However, regardless of how the team performs, if Avdija keeps this up, he will easily outplay his contract and be one of the best bargain deals in the league.