The Biggest thing to watch for from Deni Avdija in Wizards' return

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Washington Wizards are among 24 teams returning to action on Thursday, following the NBA's annual All-Star festivities. Losers of eight consecutive games, the team will look to reverse a rocky stretch in a tough matchup on the road against the Denver Nuggets. The clash will mark the team's 100th regular season meeting all-time.

9-45. 142. Monumental Sports Network. February 22, 2024. Wizards-Nuggets (2/22/24). 73. DEN -15.0. 9:00 PM ET. 36-19

In the Wizards' last meeting with the Nuggets on January 21st, Washington struggled mightily to defend Nikola Jokic, surrendering a season-high 42 points to the reigning Finals MVP en route to a 113-104 Nuggets win. Jokic used his size to force interior defenders out of position and drew several fouls as a result. With Daniel Gafford since traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Marvin Bagley III will have his work cut out for him against Jokic.

Will Deni Avdija continue his hot streak in Denver?

Coming off a monster 43-point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans, the best scoring streak of Deni Avdija's NBA career has reached a fever pitch. Notably, Avdija attempted a career-high 24 shots against New Orleans, a significant improvement from the five field goal attempts he recorded in the Wizards' last matchup with the Nuggets.

Those five field goal attempts are a single-game low for Avdija this season, who has begun to establish himself in the month since that game. If he hopes to stay hot, Avdija will have to look to continue shooting at volume. The Wizards' 6'9" wing is averaging 18.3 field goal attempts per game over his last three games.

Deni Avdija has made noticeable improvements to his ability on the drive, scoring aggressively and efficiently in the paint. The Denver Nuggets rank 15th in the NBA in points allowed in the paint, an encouraging sign for Avdija and the Wizards.

However, the refinement to Avdija's game that shined through against New Orleans was his three-point shooting. Avdija converted on six of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc in the game, improving his season-long clip from three to 40.5 percent. With Denver's opponents shooting the second-fewest three-pointers per game this year, Avdija's efficiently will be key for the Wizards.

Defeating the reigning champions is never an easy task. However Deni Avdija and the Wizards will have an opportunity on Thursday night to challenge one of the NBA's best units and start the second half of the season on a high note.