Deni Avdija spoke at a special media session ahead of the Washington Wizards Jewish Heritage Day which will take place on Thursday night at the game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Immediately following the media session Avdija was named to the World Team’s Rising Star Roster.
Prior to the game, renowned Israeli artist Kobi Aflalo will sing the National Anthem. Aflalo will also be live on the team’s Israeli Instagram page on March 4 to discuss his upcoming performance. Wizards forward Deni Avdija will address fans at home in English and Hebrew while video messages from the Israeli embassy, former NBA player Omri Casspi and players from the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club and Israeli National Team will play throughout the game.
Fans can join in the Jewish Heritage Night celebration by tuning in to the Wizards Virtual Gameday presented by NBCSW. Fans will learn Jewish Heritage fun facts and enjoy Israeli hit music played during timeouts by DJ Heat.
Below are the English and Hebrew question and answers from the Israeli’s media availability:
The NBA so far: It’s been a good few months. I had my ups and downs. It was good for me and I learned a lot of new things. It all made me a better player.”
About Deni’s relationship with his old Maccabi coach: “Me and coach Sfairopoulos are in touch but we haven’t spoken in a few months as he has been busy. But I’ve been following the club and wish them the best of luck.”
His role with the club: “My role right now is my role and I am trying to help the team win and so what the coach needs me to do. Hopefully I’ll have more of a chance later on, but I’m filling my role as best I can.”
Playing as a rookie for Washington compared to being a rookie with Maccabi a few years back: “It’s actually very similar situation and I’m older now but for sure it’s similar. I barely played my first year with Maccabi and I am getting used the play and the physicality in both as I’m improving.”
The referees: “You now how it is for rookies in these league and it’s frustrating. I’m trying to make the team better with my defense but getting called on it doesn’t help. It doesn’t matter if I’m a rookie or not it should be consistent.”
Playing with Russell Westbrook: “The good thing about Russ, he’s just going to come play as hard as he can. You see his mentality from when he wakes up in the morning and how he eats breakfast. Both he and Brad (Beal) are veteran leaders and can learn from him.”
About coach David Adkins: “He’s helped me a lot and we are talking tons about how to improve and if I had bad games he explains it and he knows my mentality, how I react and my style. Our relationship is great and it will get better throughout the years.”
Getting used to playing in the NBA: “It’s all about the situation that I’m in. I’m just Deni. I have my style and I am there for my teammates if I touch the ball or not. I will always look for teammates. Ultimately, I want the team to win and I will do everything I can to help them win.”
Most significant memory to date: “When you are in a league with so many stars and huge arenas it’s tough to pick one. If it’s LA, Miami it’s great and an amazing experience. I worked hard for this and I am honored to be here. But perhaps my three against the Lakers was the moment so far. I got back to the hotel and you think what else can you do. I thought to myself where I was two years ago. Two years, it’s crazy.”
Improving: “I’m working slowly but surely and I’m staying positive, things in the NBA are very dynamic and I will continue to work hard and take it one day at a time. Not to go too high and not to go too low.”
Referee calls: “Some of the refs don’t even want to look at me, but what can I say, I try to defend and do good for my club and I tell them you want to ruin my game! But that’s part of being a rookie, what can you do.
Trying to dunk on Tacko Fall: “I tried to make a good play and I came into that with the mindset that I was going to be aggressive. But what can you do the ball didn’t go in.”
Playing against Rudy Fernandez vs Lebron James: “It’s two different types of players and Rudy is in the Euroleague and now I’m facing and defending Lebron. I really enjoyed having that chance to be a kid from Herzliya and having a chance to defend him was such an opportunity. The three versus the Lakers was great but hopefully the will be many more great moments. Patience.”