Some call him Deni, others call him "Air 9" but from here on and out he will be known as "Turbo." Deni Avdija has received the nickname "Turbo" for his ability to put his game into another drive and take over on the floor. Plus, it even comes with its own throttle revving signature celebration:
Avdija’s nickname was assigned to him by his teammate Monte Morris following practice one day during a competitive game of one-on-one.
“All Deni wants to do right now is turbo and square…kind of like in [NBA] 2K,” Morris said.
The nickname Turbo is quite fitting for Avdija. As he's done in games for the Wizards, he'll go full turbo mode in the open floor and will get to use the square button (shoot) to score coast-to-coast. Coming off the bench, Avdija has become a key piece to the Wizards' six-game winning streak.
Following the Rui Hachimura trade, Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said one of the major reasons the trade occurred was to provide more minutes for Avdija. So far this season, Avdija is averaging 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists in about 26.2 minutes per game. With increased opportunity, he's becoming more confident in his game and understands the responsibility that is expected of him on both ends of the floor.
“I think it’s going to evolve even better,” Avdija said. “I’ll have counters for different moves too and I’ll know how to finish in certain situations.
Avdija is appearing more confident the more reps he gets. He's displayed that throughout the Wizards’ six-game winning streak, which is now the longest active winning streak in the NBA following a 127-106 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Whatever "Turbo" put into his engine before the game must have worked because he came ready to play, giving the Wizards a productive 33 minutes of action and delivered a career-high 25 pts.
Avdija’s teammates and coaches have noticed major strides he has taken in just his third year in the league. Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr. has been quite impressed, taking notice of the change in his level of aggression as of late.
“He’s figuring it out,” said Wes Unseld. “Earlier in the year his finishing wasn’t great. I’ve seen a huge uptick in that area, and I think that’s really helped him."