Deni Avdija is an up and coming star in the Israeli basketball scene and has been hyped up a lot by NBA scouts and they say could be the next Euro great. As of July 8th he’s projected mid lottery around 7-10. Mainly projected to the Knicks but again I think this is a very bad move for the Knicks if they make it and will be another 1st round overseas pick that was wasted. Don’t get me wrong Deni is a great prospect but I don’t think he’ll be a Luka Doncic or a Kristaps Porzingis. I 100% see more of a ceiling with Killian Hayes then with Deni for reasons I’ll explain. In the Israeli league Deni averged 12.2 PPG, 2.3 APG, 6.1 RPG, 57% from the field, and 43% from 3.
Strengths: Deni is a 6’8 210 pound SF/PF that can also play guard when needed. Deni is one of the best passers in this draft; he’s up there with Killian Hayes and others, great feel for the game at the age of 19. Deni could be a good primary playmaker but will most likely be the 2nd playmaker because of his position. Deni is good on both ends of the PnR and could be utilized however the team wants and still be successful in whatever he gets put into. Deni is very crafty around the rim, very James Harden like. That’s because he’s very good with his euro-step, off foot layups and finally his spin move. Deni has a great touch around the rim but is very unorthodox in the way he finishes and is crafty with his touch. Deni can also play very good off ball offense and knows how to get himself open, he’s a great cutter with advanced timing and the angles he takes for a 19 year old. Deni is a great pick up and run type of guy, he can grab the rebound and run in transition and has decent speed for his height. Deni has elite verticality, when he gets beat he’s good at recovering and is a great team defender. He can score in a lot of different ways but he does have an elite post game that could translate. Finally he does have a good looking shot but needs to utilize it more in C&S to be more successful in the league.
Weaknesses: Now personally I think he’s an overrated prospect and I project him late lottery to early 20’s because there is so much you want from a top 10 pick and Deni doesn’t give you that. Like what NBA teams want a pass first SF/PF, expectually for a top 10 pick. Deni’s hype is solely based on Luka and other Euro’s success, but the difference is that in the same 2019-2020 season Deni didn’t dominate the Euro’s like Luka or Porzingis. Deni averaged 4.0 PPG in Europe before transferring to Israel, sorry but why do you want someone that dominated Israel and couldn’t even dominate the Euro’s. If the Knicks do pick him he’ll be another first round Euro prospect went wrong, Frank Ntilikina went wrong 100% shouldn’t have been a first round pick, Porzingis was a good pick but ended up getting traded because he didn’t want to play for a trash franchise. The Knicks have a record of picking bad players in the 1st round and hopefully won’t pick Deni because HE’S NOT GREAT. Now it sounds like I’m hating on the kid but I’m not. I’m stating facts and here’s another one for you, Deni is a slender man and weighs 210 at 6’8 the guy won’t be able to bully or get through any NBA SF and that’s facts. Deni gets bullied on the glass in ISRAEL, what makes you think that will change for the NBA. Deni is a reliability on defense sometimes because he gets blown by and doesn’t have the strength or length to contest. I’m sorry but this kid does not deserve this hype and it’s solely based off Luka’s recent success, don’t come attacking me when he’s the next Dragon Bender and yes that’s my comparison.
Verdict: I don’t see a lot in his upside and I don’t see him fitting in a team role. I see a lot more upside in guys like Issac Okoro, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Jahmi’us Ramsey. I don’t ever see him as close as people compare him to Luka, Luka averaged 16 PPG in Europe and did something but Deni because of family reasons had to leave but he average 4 PPG in the same amount of games he had in Israel. The kid has upside but not to the extent of what scout think he is.