The Washington Wizards got a pleasant surprise Wednesday night as Israel forward Deni Avdija slid to them at No. 9 in the NBA Draft.
The 6-9 Avdija was in the conversation for top international prospect in this draft, along with Killian Hayes who went No. 7 to the Detroit Pistons. But Avdija was high on the Wizards' draft board, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Avdija, 19, has forward size with guard abilities and outstanding speed in transition. He possess playmaking ability as a passer, and if he develops a consistent outside shot, he has the potential to be a multidimensional offensive threat.
In 59 games for Maccabi Tel Aviv last season, Avdija averaged 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 50.5% from the field and 33.3% on 3-pointers.
His difficulties shooting the ball further showed at the free throw line where he shot just 58.8%, though that was an increase over his 38.4% from the previous season.
Until he develops a consistent jumper, Avdija figures to slot in as a rotational piece who can create offense for the second unit.
Once the draft order was decided, Avdija was a name that came up in conversations as a top-five pick, even being mentioned as a potential option for the Warriors at No. 2. To highlight how surprised some were to see him available at No. 9, ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz called him the "steal of the draft."