Deni Avdija values all-around skill set over freak athleticism, elite shooting

Mike DePrisco
·2 min read

Avdija values all-around skill set over athleticism, shooting originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Deni Avdija is a unique prospect in that his athleticism or shot-making don't jump out at you as you watch him play. Instead, he prides his game on making the right play every trip down, whether it's hitting a spot-up three or setting up his teammates in the pick and roll. 

At just 19 years old, Avdija has flashed an advanced playmaking ability coupled with a hard-nosed playing style that's earned him a spot in the Wizards' starting lineup from day one.

While he still has areas to improve, especially behind the arc, Avdija explained to NBC Sports Washington's Glenn Consor how he's more than happy having an all-round skill set rather than being a freak athlete or elite shooter. 

"Not everything is to be athletic and be the best shooter," Avdija said. "I'd rather have all those skills, all those things great, than have something I'm never going to be good at.

"Me having this skill set, me having the opportunity to get better at so many different things, I love it," he said. "What could be better than this?"

Avdija's already started to see returns on the impact he can have on the Wizards with an all-around game. He's averaging 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 50% from the floor and 43.8% from three.

His impact can't be quantified with just counting stats, however. Through his first five games, the Wizards are nearly 31 points per 100 possessions better with Avdija on the court vs. off, per Cleaning the Glass. It's still early in the season and much can change, but that's the best mark on the team by a healthy margin. 

"I don't have to be the most athletic. I need to be a good shooter, but I'm doing a lot of things on the court." he said. "The feel for the game, the IQ, the understanding that I'm not always going to be the most athletic guy to guard somebody one on one. If I have a good IQ and I understand defense and I'm a good team defender, I can be a great defender."

The only thing missing from a strong start to Avdija's career has been a win, and the Wizards will look to secure their first one Friday night against the Timberwolves.

Tune in at 7 PM to NBC Sports Washington on Friday for complete coverage of the Wizards' next game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.