Deni Avdija Maccabi Tel Aviv

The Warriors should gamble on Deni Avdija with their second overall pick

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Speculations have been going back and forth on whether the Golden State Warriors will keep their 2nd overall pick in the draft or trade it for a proven quality player. But if the Warriors keep their pick and make a selection, I expect them to draft for need, rather than get the best talent available.

If the Minnesota Timberwolves go after either Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball with their top pick, James Wiseman would be a probable selection for Golden State. Wiseman gives the Dubs a tremendous presence in the paint, and his potential as a mobile, athletic rim protector will be valuable for a Warriors frontcourt lacking in size and length.

But an intriguing avenue that the Warriors could take would be to select the Israeli-Serbian forward Deni Avdija. Avdija was a lock in the Top 5 among mock drafts earlier this year, but his value recently dipped into the lottery.

Still, there are reports saying that the Warriors were thoroughly impressed when Avdija had an in-person workout for them. Many people are still skeptical of Avdija’s star or bust potential, but he could certainly fit well in the Warriors’ free-flowing system.

Ability to play all four positions

When we were first introduced to Avdija’s name, some scouts compared his potential to be that of Luka Doncic‘s. However, his performances with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Basketball Premier League don’t really speak of a primary playmaker role. His ball-handling and speed with the ball need drastic improvement, although his court smarts and vision can immediately help him become a solid secondary playmaker.


But the unique asset that Avdija has is his excellent versatility as a 6-foot-9 wing. On offense, his long-range marksmanship has seen an uptick in terms of efficiency. His lengthy frame helps him score in the post, and he can also put the ball on the floor for strong finishes around the rim. Avdija can also hold his own defensively in the post, and he rarely jumps on ball fakes. The ability to defend quicker guards is not there yet, but his willingness to exert tremendous effort will eventually get him there.

Fits perfectly on the Warriors’ organized chaos

We’re still waiting for Avdija to figure out what he’s really good at, but his jack-of-all-trades skill set will be an asset for Golden State. The Warriors’ free-flowing system of organized chaos requires players to exhibit all kinds of skills, including playmaking, efficient off-ball movements, baseline cutting, and long-range shooting among many others. Avdija has already shown glimpses of all these skills, a great indicator of his fit with the Warriors.

On top of that, Avdija’s versatility will allow him to play multiple roles for Golden State. They can slot him as a pick-and-roll operator on the second unit, or play him as a stretch four alongside Draymond Green in their small-ball lineup. Avdija is not a flashy prospect, but he will do all kinds of work for you, an asset that the championship-chasing Warriors squad direly needs.

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