The Washington Wizards have had an abysmal beginning to their season, especially after the lofty expectations that were set with the acquisition of Russell Westbrook from the Rockets in the offseason. However, they do have one bright area to be hopeful about, with their first round draft pick Deni Avdija showing signs that he will be a reliable player for the team in the coming years.
The rookie from Israel has found himself in a starting role in every game so far in his career, and has already had one game where he surpassed the 20 point mark. After a brief inactive stretch due to health protocols, he’s back in the lineup and continuing to contribute at the level he was before his absence.
For some out there that are interested in an ESPN fantasy basketball tip, here’s one – Deni is only rostered on 9% of teams on ESPN as of now. Through the first 14 games of his career he’s averaging 7.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. This is what the Wiz’ hoped for, drafting the young Israeli with their top 10 pick.
These aren’t numbers that are going to blow your mind, but Avdija’s doing all this in just over 23 minutes per game, and you can expect his role to increase as he improves and learns the NBA game even more. He’s put up 13 points in back to back games, a trend that the Wizards hope he continues [ read more: Deni Avdija fantasy league start ].
Along with that, he’s also averaging .9 steals per game, a solid mark for those fantasy basketball players that are participating in roto leagues.
Some young players might feel extra pressure about having more eyeballs on them from a crowd that most others don’t, but Avdija has shown that he’s comfortable with it all. At the NBA draft combine he said, “It’s exciting. Any time you can make history or any kind of good thing to represent the Jewish community and the state of Israel, that’s an honor for me,”
In the NBA Draft in November, Deni made history and headlines when he became the highest ever Jewish player drafted into the league. The honor was previously held by TJ Leaf. Plus, he set the record and also was a lottery pick at the same time, so there are some lofty expectations from the 20 year old.
Another reason he might take the situation easier than others is that he has already played professional basketball before. While it obviously isn’t the same level as the NBA, it’s still an extremely useful experience of the responsibilities of what it takes to be a pro day in and day out.
As we head into February, the awards leaders are starting to emerge for those who might be paying attention to something like that on a sports betting app. One of the awards that was definitely undecided heading into the year was Rookie of the Year, with no clear frontrunning in the preseason.
Even with Deni having a quality start, he is still somewhat of a longshot at the award. If you’re somebody looking for a sizable return on your bet, he’s currently at +5000 to take home the honor, which puts him as the 9th favorite. Obviously he’d have to make up a lot of ground, but the opportunity is still there.
Regardless of the hardware the Deni Avdija might take home after the season, what we’ve seen thus far has given hope and shown that he was a successful pick for the Wizards. He’s shown flashes in many different areas of the game, and has tons of upside being only 20 years old. Plus, with his Israli origins his good play will keep a lot of international attention.