The college basketball season is underway, igniting NBA mock drafts to make their rounds around the internet. And for the first time in years, Warriors fans have their eyes fixated on top prospects.
One of the most polarizing prospects ahead of next June's draft is forward Deni Avdija out of Israel. The 18-year-old has been on scouts' radars for years as a multi-skilled forward who can initiate an offense.
The Athletic's Sam Vecenie released his first mock draft on Tuesday and awarded the Warriors with Avdija at the No. 7 overall pick. Vecenie's formula for draft order is based off where different projection models currently have teams ending this season, including FiveThirtyEight, Basketball-Reference and TeamRankings.
Avdija plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv and is averaging 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds off the bench while playing 16.7 minutes per game between the Euroleague and I-BSL, according to Real GM. The 6-foot-8 forward is extremely young for the professional league and opened eyes this summer in the Under-20 European Championships.
Nice all-around showing for Maccabi Tel Aviv's Deni Avdija in a win over Ironi Nahariya: 10 PTS, 7 REBS, 3 AST, 1 STL + 1 BLK in 26 MIN. Good to see him show off more of his playmaking ability, which stands out a lot more when he's playing amongst his age group. pic.twitter.com/j6yngYnVeq— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) November 5, 2019
The Israeli-Serbian teenager was named MVP of the tournament after scoring 23 points with seven assists and three blocks to beat Spain in the championship game. Avdija averaged 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.4 blocks in 32.3 minutes per game during the tournament.
"This kid has a high-level competitive spirit and understands what it takes to get to his highest level," Maccabi assistant coach Tim Fanning said to ESPN over the summer.
Avdija needs to work on his physicality and shooting consistency, but that can come with age and maturity. Scouts seem a bit scattered on him, though he certainly will be a name to watch.