Washington – Sam Schwartz, Sports Rabbi Correspondent
With the Washington Wizards’ first preseason game scheduled for the end of the week, head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media, providing insights on the early NBA career of Israeli phenom Deni Avdija.
When asked what would be the key for any one of the Wizard’s forwards to lock down the starting three spot, Brooks didn’t specify one specific key to winning the role, rather mentioning the number of options he was looking at, including Avdija.
“We have a lot of different options, quite frankly. We have a lot of guys that bring something a little different. So I think it’s going to come down to, what’s the best fit for the starting group? What’s the best fit for the second unit? But I think we have some pretty good choices. We have Troy, Bonga, Bertans, Deni, Jerome.”
Expanding further on how he would determine the starting small forward, Brooks indicated that the wing spot would likely be fluid to begin the season, suggesting the head coach hopes to further evaluate both the talent level and fit within the starting lineup of all of his options before sticking with one guy in the starting five.
“More than likely it’s going to be fluid. I’m pretty sure you guys know this as well, we’re locked in at one, two, and probably four and five, but I don’t think we’re going to always be locked in at that three spot. You know maybe it’s going to be how we’re playing, how that player is playing with the second unit. We’re just trying to find quality minutes at all five positions for 240 minutes of a game.”
Discussing the specifics of what he has seen out of Avdija, Brooks appeared to be very high on the early returns from the rookie in practice.
“Good player, really good, solid, tough, has a good presence, he banged up his knee a couple of days ago, today he just went through a few things, but I think it’s nothing serious. Probably tomorrow he’ll be able to go through most, if not all. I like his approach, I mention this all the time as you coach a group of players, that you really want to make sure they understand the ins and outs of how to be a professional. Being on time, taking care of your body, eating healthy, getting proper sleep, being a good teammate, making sure you’re taking advantage of the coaching staff and the film room, early on the practice floor, late after practice. I can really say there’s not one time I’ve thought about ok I got to remind Deni to do this.”
Speaking further on Avdija’s work ethic, Brooks praised his recent draft picks willingness to improve, as well as his already impressive court awareness.
“He’s come in and really blended in, a lot of times you don’t blend in as a rookie. You kind of sometimes you stick out for the wrong reasons. Not one time, I’ve had to really like pull him over to the side and make sure that he’s well aware of what he needs to do as a young player in this league. But I think he has a high IQ, and he has that desire to get better, you can just see it in his eyes when you talk to him, he has this determination which I love about him.”
The Wizards begin their preseason slate on the road in Brooklyn Sunday night, as Avdija should see his first minutes as an NBA player.