Undermanned Wizards cannot overcome Hornets as Deni Avdija struggles mightily

Mar 30, 2021 | Deni Avdija

Unsurprisingly because the same was done with John Wall in previous years, but some people, presumably Wizards and/or Russell Westbrook fans, pondered Washington as a better team without Bradley Beal. That is clearly laughable. Westbrook’s historic 35 points, 21 assist, and 14 rebound showing on Monday was extremely impressive, but it is clearly unsustainable for anyone and the Wizards had offensive woes on Tuesday against the Hornets. Washington could not extend their winning streak to three games and fell 114-104 at home to Charlotte. Deni Avdija’s understandably up-and-down season continues, this time with the latter as the rookie struggled on both ends of the floor.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Washington was without Bradley Beal (hip contusion), Raul Neto (rib contusion), Daniel Gafford (ankle sprain) to be re-evaluated in approximately 10 days, Davis Bertans (calf strain), and Ish Smith (quad strain), all rotation players that aside from Gafford and maybe Smith would have likely helped the Wizards subpar 27 percent shooting (10-for-37) from beyond the arc. With the Hornets on the other hand shooting 41.2 percent (14-for-34) from deep and only being exploited for seven points off of their 14 turnovers, the undermanned Wizards could not outscore their opponent on the second night of a back-to-back despite a better defensive effort after halftime. Despite the losing effort, Russell Westbrook had his league-leading 17th triple-double of the season including an eye-popping poster dunk.

In 32 minutes in his third straight start, Deni Avdija had just three points on a miserable 1-for-10 shooting including 1-for-7 from deep before fouling out for the second time in his NBA career. The 20-year old did grab eight rebounds which is always beneficial for a team that has struggled in that department over recent history. You have heard it several times already but it cannot be understated how big the upfront learning curve is for this year’s rookies let alone a young man coming to a new country. Despite his worst shooting performance (minimum 5 attempts) in his young NBA career, it can be a learning experience for development and future success.

“He’s getting some valuable minutes. He needs to play better and we want to have him play better. Tonight was a rough night on both ends, but it’s a lot of things he can look at and challenge himself to get better and he will. He’s a hard-working kid that cares,” Scott Brooks said. “Tonight when you’re not making your shots, one thing I need him to start thinking about like I told him during the one timeout, I asked him if it was a good shot, it was a wide-open three. He struggled to say yes, I said, ‘no, that is a good shot, but remember you have options. You can shoot it or you can drive it, you’re a good right-handed driver so you go to do those options.'”

The Wizards will travel to Detroit to play the Pistons on Thursday in a one-game road trip.

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