Deni Avdija completes sophomore season in NBA in Iron man fashion for Wizards

Apr 12, 2022 | Deni Avdija

The Washington Wizards 2021-22 season came to a close on Sunday with a loss that dropped them to 35-47, a major disappointment given their 10-3 start, but one of the bright spots was 21-year old Deni Avdija playing in all 82 regular-season games. Avdija was one of just five players (fewest in history) in the NBA to appear in every contest for his respective team this season, joining Dwight Powell (DAL), Saddiq Bey (DET), Kevon Looney (GSW), and Mikal Bridges (PHX). Avdija becomes the first Wizards player to play in all of the team’s games in the regular season since Bradley Beal in 2018-19.

“Definitely, me being out there and me being available for every game for the coaches, for the players, and giving it all out every night,” Avdija responded when asked about the sense of pride in playing every game. “Sometimes there’s better nights, sometimes there’s worse nights, but I’m trying to give my best in each night and it’s not easy, you have your personal life too, you have a lot of stuff going on outside of the court sometimes and it’s not easy to play 82 games and be all the time on top and focused.”

The season statistics of 8.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 24.2 minutes per game do not pop off the charts for Avdija, but anyone watching could see his progression and comfort level improve as months went by. In Avdija’s last 16 games over the final month of the season, the point forward averaged 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. Some of that corresponds to the ball being more available with Bradley Beal undergoing season-ending wrist surgery and Kyle Kuzma cautiously sitting out the final 13 games of the season with right knee tendinitis. Nonetheless, the flashes of what made Avdija a highly touted prospect were increasingly on display late in the season.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

“He’s been playing really well the last [four] weeks,” teammate Corey Kispert started about Avdija. “Making really good decisions with the ball in his hand, shooting it really well from behind the arc. He’s rounding into the player that we all know that he can be. Really happy to see him play with more confidence. Get out of his own head a little bit and just kind of play with instincts, that’s when he’s at his best. The sky is the limit for Deni and he should be happy to with the last [four] weeks he put together.”

One of the highlights of Avdija’s season was showcased over the final week with his growing confidence on full display. In Minnesota on the first night of a back-to-back, Avdija drove aggressively with his favored right hand from the three-point line, created space by dropping his left shoulder, and finished with a finger roll at the rim once clearing out 6-foot-9 Jaden McDaniels, who Avdija motioned ‘too small’ with his hand before running back on defense. The next night in Atlanta, Avdija boxed out the smaller Delon Wright to secure an offensive rebound off a missed 3-pointer by Corey Kispert, put his left shoulder again into the 6-foot-10 Danilo Gallinari, dribbled once, and recorded a putback layup. On his way back onto defense, Avdija motioned ‘too small’ with his fingers in Kevin Durant to Evan Fournier fashion. To no surprise, this was enjoyable for Kyle Kuzma and other Wizards teammates.

“It’s an inner joke, playing around, taunting a little bit, it’s never bad. Teammates laugh about it and they love it,” Avdija shared.

After a rollercoaster rookie season that featured no Summer League, a truncated training camp less than a month after being drafted, a stint in the league’s health and safety protocols, and a season-ending right fibular hairline fracture that cost him more of his offseason than initially hoped, it is commendable that Avdija was able to play in every game this season. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. alluded that such consistent playing time helped the game slow down for Avdija which will only continue to bode well for his future.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

“It’s an emotional roller coaster, definitely, throughout the year. I think I made a big step, I matured, I’ve learned every day, I got better every day, and that was my goal,” Avdija summarized his second season in the NBA. “Something that was really important to me and I feel like I did that. I got a lot of stuff to improve. This is a big summer ahead of me. Just stay humble and keep going.”

Stay tuned for an outlook on Deni Avdija’s upcoming offseason that he and the Wizards hope will be a big one in his overall development.

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!