Deni Avdija’s first steps in the NBA – Preseason Preview: Wizards at Nets

Dec 13, 2020 | Deni Avdija

Washington – Sam Schwartz, Sports Rabbi Correspondent

The Wizards play their first preseason game Sunday night in Brooklyn (6pm ET, 1am Israel Time), where first-round draft pick Deni Avdija looks to see his first minutes of NBA action. The Nets pose several tough challenges for Avdija and Washington, yet the game serves more like a tune-up for the regular season rather than a highly competitive affair.

While it has yet to be said who will claim the Wizards’ starting three spot, the only position within the starting five without a surefire starter, Avdija is likely to begin the exhibition slate off the bench, as head coach Scott Brooks has said the rookie is likely to receive about 20 minutes to make an impression in his debut.

Avdija may be in store for more than he can handle defensively, as the Nets’ rotation of wings includes Kevin Durant, quite possibly the most dangerous isolation scorer alive today, and a collection of specialty veterans such as sharpshooter Joe Harris and scrappy journeyman Jeff Green. No matter who Avdija sees in his first defensive assignment, he is sure to have his work cut out for him.

Offensively, the Israeli newcomer is likely to be given extended opportunities with Washington’s starting backcourt duo of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal who won’t play. Avdija, like most rookies in the NBA, will likely not be asked to create his own shots within his team’s offense come the regular season, yet the preseason is a place for experimentation. With both of Washington’s primary shot creators out, Avdija will have the opportunity to evaluate his ability to make plays for himself and his teammates.

There’s no better welcome to the NBA than guarding the league’s most lethal scorer, yet Avdija appears to be the rare young talent excited for the opportunity to face the most difficult challenges to both improve and adjust to the American game. Look for the rookie to get an opportunity to demonstrate his perimeter shooting, as well as a chance to create for himself among the second unit.

Avdija will see a familiar face in Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Amar’e Stoudemire who will be working under new head coach Steve Nash. STAT and Avdija helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli League championship this past season with Stoudemire taking home the Finals MVP award. The Israeli sensation was able to share a lockerroom with the 6x All-Star and was able to pick his brain on many occasions, certainly an invaluable opportunity that hopefully Avdija will take full advantage of as his NBA career begins.

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