NBA

NBA Draft 2020: Who is Deni Avdija? Fast facts on potential top three pick

When you tune into the 2020 NBA Draft on Nov. 18, 2020, Deni Advija's name will be one of the first you hear called by Commissioner Adam Silver.

The 19-year-old wing has star potential and, as such, has been projected as high as No. 1 and will be a surefire lottery pick this year.

So, who is Deni Avdija? Read up on some fast facts on the soon-to-be lottery pick.

Beginnings

Deni Avdija (pronounced: Denny Ahv-dee-ya) was born on Jan. 3, 2001 in Beit Zera, Israel.

The son of former Serbian-Israeli professional basketball player Zufer Avdija and Israeli Sharon Artzi, Avdija holds both Israeli and Serbian citizenship. At the age of eight, Avdija began playing basketball and joined the Maccabi Tel Aviv youth team in 2013.

Avdija began his professional career at 16, signing a six-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Nov. 2017.

Pro Careerdeni avdija

According to Maccabi's official site, Avdija became the youngest player ever to play for the club as he made his debut at 16 years, 320 days old.

Avdija appeared in just three Israel Winner League games in his first year as a pro (2017-18), scoring one point. In the 2018-19 season, Avdija appeared in 32 Israel League games and an additional eight EuroLeague games, where he averaged 3.9 points in 6.4 minutes per game.

Last season, Avdija played in a total of 61 games (Israel League and EuroLeague), posting averages of 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. Avdija averaged 4.0 points in EuroLeague play but posted a season-high 13 points in a one-point win over Fenerbache, a team that features two former lottery picks in Derrick Williams and Jan Vesely.

International Career

While he holds dual citizenship, Avdija competes internationally for Israel, a choice motivated by the ability to play with friends and a familiarity with the language.

At 17, Advija competed with the Israeli Under-20 team that won the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. Avdija earned All-Tournament Team honours by posting averages of 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Avdija has participated in two Basketball Without Borders camps, earning MVP honours at the Europe camp in Serbia in Aug. 2018 before earning MVP honours at the NBA All-Star Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Charlotte, NC in Feb. 2019. Later that month, Avdija made his debut for the Israeli senior national team at 18 years old.

In July 2019, the Israeli Under-20 team again won FIBA Europe gold thanks to Avdija, who was named tournament MVP because of his play.

NBA Outlook

Listed at 6-foot-9, 215 lbs., Avdija has the measurables of a wing that can contribute right away.

In his scouting report, NBA.com Draft expert Eric Fawcett had a glowing outlook for Avdija as a prospect:

"Yes, Avdija plays with the typical fundamentals and polish we've seen from European talent but it's the blend of those skills and North American boldness that makes him so enticing. That, and the fact he plays with unmistakable finesse at 6'9" makes him one of the most fascinating players in the class."

Aligned with Fawcett's projection of Avdija to land between the third and seventh pick, NBA.com's Kyle Irving projected Avdija to land at No. 4 in the upcoming draft, likening him to Gordon Hayward and Hedo Turkoglu.

Expect him to make an impact from Day 1.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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