דני אבדיה
Deni Avdija
Photo: AP
Deni Avdija

Israeli hooper Avdija set to make NBA history in coming draft

The 19-year-old Maccabi Tel Aviv forward expected to rank among the event's top 5 picks, with teams such as the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers already setting their eyes on him

Liran Friedmann |
Published: 11.17.20 , 17:54
Israel's brightest basketball prospect Deni Avdija could make NBA history on Wednesday and become the nation's highest-ever pick in the draft.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • The 19-year-old, 2.06 meters (6'9"), Maccabi Tel Aviv and Israeli national team forward is expected to rank among the event's top 5 picks, with several teams already rumored to have their eyes on him, including the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
    דני אבדיהדני אבדיה
    Deni Avdija
    (Photo: AP)
    In the 2019-2020 season of the Israeli Basketball Premier League, Avdija averaged 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1 steal per game; shooting 52% from the field and 35% from beyond the arch.
    Maccabi also won the championship that year and Avdija was crowned the season's MVP.
    He also made a name for himself during the FIBA U20 European Championship, leading the Israeli national team to two consecutive championships in 2018 and 2019, and winning the latter's Finals MVP.
    However, free-throw accuracy remains Avdija's Achilles' heel, managing only 59% from the line.
    דני אבדיה דני אבדיה
    Avdija playing against Hapoel Jerusalem
    (Photo: Oz Moalem)
    "It’s a matter of time and I think it’s a matter of the mind," he said during an interview with Israeli media. "I think I can shoot even above 70%. I’m going to get there."
    "I just want to be the best Deni Avdija I can be. I just don’t want to be compared to anybody."
    His father, Zufer Avdija, played for the Yugoslavian national team and later moved to Israel, where he played professionally for a number of Israeli clubs.
    Avdija will be the third Israeli to play in the NBA, following in the footsteps of Maccabi teammate Omri Casspi and Gal Mekel.
    Talkbacks for this article 0