It is always a challenge to predict the career ark of an international player. Sometimes they pan out to be stars, like Luka Doncic or Dirk Nowitzki, and some don’t pan out well like Darko Milicic or Andrea Bargnani. Some scouts and analysts are dedicated to scouting these players and are still unable to figure out if they can transform their games and become NBA caliber players.
This year’s draft class has players from all over. There are french players like Theo Maledon and Killian Hayes, Lamelo Ball and R.J. Hampton both are American, but spent time playing in Australia, and Deni Avdija, who played in Israel. Out of all of these players, Deni is the one who has the most to unpack about his game. He is a pure prospect until this point, as he has a well-rounded game in many areas, but lacks key skills to be a player worthy of an early pick.
International players always have a lot to unpack in their game, and in this article we will be doing just that, looking over Denis athleticism, scoring, and more.
Deni is by no means an athletic freak and a physical stud. However, he is a quick player with a high vertical. This athleticism will be something he can use to his advantage in the NBA. The high pace international style of play suited Deni, as he did not show any signs of low stamina. Deni also has an extremely large frame at 6 feet and 9 inches and 220 pounds.
This gives him many tools to make up for his lack of coordination on the defensive interior, which will be talked about later. He also does have a wingspan about 1.5 inches longer than his height.
In this past season with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Deni scored the ball well averaging 12 points per game. He was also able to do this on quality efficiency from the floor. However, an important statistic is the free-throw line, where Deni only shot 59%, below average for any player, especially one who is considered one of the better shooters in the draft.
In general, the better three-point shooters are those who shoot well from the free-throw line. If Deni can’t hit 60% before the NBA, this could be a sign of issues shooting down the road. Deni has time to figure it out, but this will be a question left unanswered for now.
However, Deni did not get to the line very often, which could be an explanation for his poor percentages. I expect it to improve, but it will be impossible to tell as of now.
Now for this category, Deni is all over the charts. International ball creates heads up and fluid players, and Deni is no different. He knows how to run a fast break, find the open man, and always has his head up. However, I am very critical of Denis’s ball-handling ability. In my time watching the film, Deni has shown that he has a very loose ball handle and has very little control.
Sometimes he has shown. to have a great attack of the dribble, but it is nowhere near something consistent. This leads to a poor assist to turnover ratio and if Deni cannot improve on this facet of his game soon enough, he will have a hard time keeping up with NBA defenders.
Deni is one of the best all-around defenders in this class. Deni has the body to guard any position and the speed to keep up with all of them. There are no concerns about his defensive ability, as we also saw his hard work ethic on this side of the ball, something we did not see from a load of other prospects.
My all around concusion is that while Deni is not the prospect he is hyped up to be so far. I do not think he should go to a team that needs his help, rather a team that needs help and could use him for it, as he is a multi dimentional player,
Possible landing spots include the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I do not like to pull out bold predictions for players like this so early, but I have a bold one for Deni. I do not think that he will be able to be a building block on a nonplayoff team. Deni’s inconstancy all around won’t let him contribute to bad teams. Athleticism got him to where he is on the defensive end and I do not think that it can keep him afloat with the best of the best.