Avdija looks to match debut in clash with pistons

Dec 17, 2020 | Deni Avdija

Following a stellar debut Sunday night in Brooklyn, Wizards’ first-round pick Deni Avdija has a chance to continue to solidify himself as the team’s best option to start at the three spot come the regular season, as Washington plays host to the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night in their second exhibition game. 

While many considered Avdija falling to the Wizards at ninth overall in this year’s draft a surprise, his first career stat line, 15/4/2 on six of six shooting from the field was more than anybody could have anticipated this early on in the Israeli rookie’s career. In his first start, Avdija was both poised and aggressive, demonstrating a knockdown perimeter shot early on before showcasing his ability as a ball-handler and playmaker. 

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Wizards’ head coach Scott Brooks has said that starting point guard Russell Westbrook  will be out for the game, while stating that there is a “good chance” that his backcourt counterpart Bradley Beal will see limited floor time against Detroit, yet also characterizing Westbrook as the rare athlete without the need for preseason to prepare his body. Regardless, Avdija should see a similar opportunity to create with the ball in his hands as Brooks hopes to determine if his rookie is truly capable of starting to begin the season. 

In terms of potential defensive assignments Advija should expect to see tomorrow night, the Pistons boast a pair of lengthy forwards that could potentially give the young pro trouble. Detroit is led by former all-star Blake Griffin, who may not possess the same electrifying athleticism that brought him attention early in his career, yet has evolved his game to that of a skilled veteran capable of knocking down perimeter jump shots at a high enough rate to keep defenders guessing and create open lanes to the rim. The Pistons’ second starting forward may not be as well known as Griffin, but is certainly a handful to face defensively. Jerami Grant, fresh off of a playoff run with Denver that saw the versatile rim runner average an 11/3/1 line over nineteen games, a stretch that ended with Detroit handing him a sixty million dollar paycheck, is capable of giving Avdija fits on both ends of the floor. 

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Another interesting matchup to watch out for is how Killian Hayes fares after the French guard was drafted 7th overall, two slots ahead of Avdija. Hayes, who played for Ulm in Germany last season is a 6”5 guard who has all the raw tools to be a star point guard in the NBA, but Avdija will certainly want to get the edge against the first European selected in the 2020 Draft.

To follow up an initial showing that justified why many considered the Wizards’ to have landed the steal of the draft, Avdija needs to do exactly what he has shown capable; knock down the three-ball, and when it’s not there make the right play to an open teammate. If tomorrow night’s Avdija is anything like the savvy swingman we saw last weekend, the available starting forward spot won’t be a competition much longer.

The Wizards host the Pistons both Thursday and Saturday at 7 p.m. before beginning the regular season on the road in Philadelphia next Wednesday. 

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