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Wizards’ Deni Avdija thanks Lakers’ Russell Westbrook for making him mentally stronger

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Though he is no longer with the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook left a lasting impact.

Westbrook played in Washington for one season before getting traded, but that one season was enough to help then-rookie Deni Avdija get acclimated to life in the NBA.

Avdija, the No. 9 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, played in 54 games his rookie season until a right leg injury derailed his campaign.

But the 6-foot-9 forward got the opportunity to soak in a ton of knowledge from seasoned veteran Westbrook, who has evolved over countless years in the league.

During the Wizards’ media day, Avdija thanked Westbrook for making him mentally tougher on the court, via Becca Winkert of WizardsXTRA:

Avdija will team with former Lakers Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell.

But it’s also a good sign for the leadership Westbrook will bring to the court. The Lakers need him to be a reliable third option, and since his work rate is always maxed out, he should provide the punch L.A. is looking for.