Israeli swingman and potential 2020 top 5 NBA draft pick Deni Avdija has a “rumored preference” for who he wants to draft him on November 18th, and that is the Golden State Warriors.
Ethan Strauss of The Athletic reported that Avdija spoke with the Warriors as well as impressed them during a pre-draft workout. Additionally, he’s spoken with the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the San Antonio Spurs.
“Avdija’s rumored preference is for the Warriors, and he’s undoubtedly not alone in that predilection.”
While any of these previously mentioned teams could use his services this upcoming season, Golden State is seemingly where he wants to be.
Who is Deni Avdija?
Avdija is a 19-year-old 6’9 swingman who was born in Beit Zera, Israel. He began playing professionally at the age of 17 for Maccabi Tel Aviv. His father, Zufer Avdija, is a former professional player who played internationally for over 20 years.
Within the framework of the Warriors, Avdija would not only fit well being able to contribute defensively with his frame but, Golden State may also be the best scenario for him to develop. Being able to come into your own around the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green while potentially playing behind Andrew Wiggins would relieve the necessity of contributing immediately and allow the game to come to him in due time.
However, given the needs of the Warriors to keep their championship window open, Avdija may not be the best selection. James Wiseman, the former Memphis big man has been ranked higher on draft boards not just for his ability but also due to his immediate contribution to a contending team like Golden State being able to be a presence in the middle and focus keenly on rebounding and defending.
His former coach, Penny Hardaway, spoke about how well of a fit Wiseman would be if he ultimately is drafted second overall.
“He can easily keep up with the game and the pace,” Hardaway told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. “He’s very athletic, very fast. He’d instantly be one of the better rim runners in the league. He’s also a rim protector; he is going to protect the rim. His skill set is good enough now, and it’s going to get better, especially because he’d be playing with veterans like Draymond, Klay, and Steph.
“Also, he can space (his shot) out to the 3. He’s been working on his jump shot and his understanding of studying film and what a team wants and needs. In their system, with those guys, he would be spectacular.”
What about Andrew Wiggins?
The drafting of Avdija could spell the end of Wiggins’ time as a Warrior but it could also be a chance to prove himself. All offseason, Wiggins’ name has been floated in potential trades across the NBA.
There are rumors for Bradley Beal in Washington, Nikola Vucevic in Orlando, and in speculation for Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, especially with the hire of former Houston Rockets GM and new President of Basketball operations Daryl Morey. While his name is constantly being placed in a new trade, Wiggins is reiterating to the Warriors that he not only wants to contribute but become a champion.
New Player-Mentor coach Leandro Barbosa stated that Wiggins wants to prove he can help the team return to their Finals winning form.
“I talked to him about his (main) goal, and he said that he wants to be a champion,” Barbosa shared. “I said, ”You are in the right place.’ It’s a great place to be. You have the great players to be around.
“To be honest it’s on him. He’s very talented on the offensive end – he can be on the defensive (end) also,” Barbosa continued. “We have to work a little bit, but if he’s willing to do that I’m sure he will be capable of doing it.