Is Deni Avdija the next great international prospect, one whose team-first mentality and jack-of-all-trades versatility will impact winning? Or is he a tweener whose shooting inconsistencies scream rotation player -- or, worse, bust potential?
The Bulls need to figure that out since the Israeli-born forward projects to be available if they stay at No. 4 in Wednesday’s NBA draft.
Scouts generally agree on the following: Avdija is solid in transition, adept as a grab-and-go initiator and reads pick-and-roll situations well. However, while excellent on cutting and movement in half court offense, his initiating skills are questionable.
Then, there’s that shot. He connected on just 58.8 of his free-throw attempts for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2019-20 season. And while a willing defender, he may lack the quickness to guard small forwards or the strength to guard power forwards.
However, the scouts who are high on Avdija point to his shooting improving as last season advanced, his selfless demeanor and strong work ethic as reasons to believe he can flourish at the next level.
A high-end comparison would be Gordon Hayward, according to one Eastern Conference executive who spoke to NBC Sports Chicago on background and emphasized Hayward’s superior shooting ability. A Western Conference scout likened him to Dario Šarić.
Multiple mock drafts link Avdija to the Bulls, which is more based on Artūras Karnišovas’ international background than significant chatter around the league. If Karnišovas favors Avdija, he has kept that largely quiet.
But by most accounts, he’ll be available if the Bulls keep the No. 4 pick -- with LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards off the board before him.