Hopefully, I have the chance after my career for more. Omri Casspi was drafted 23 overall in 2009.
"He raised me, raised me to be good off the court and how to behave with my teammates and how to be a professional and work hard and never give up", Avdija said, before explaining that his father was steady as ever when his son became the highest-drafted Israeli player in National Basketball Association history. Going 20-47 last season, some analysts described it as a "growing pains" season as the Hawks failed to make it to the "NBA Bubble", the Disney World sports complex near Orlando, to even compete to make it to the playoffs. Washington was without their star player, John Wall, the entire 2019-20 season due to injury. "While he is a young player who is still developing, he has great experience playing at a high level both professionally and in worldwide competition". Bradley Beal has been a bright spot for the Wizards, especially when Wall has been out. The dual Serbian-Israeli citizen and sports coach also played for several Israeli professional basketball teams.
"Deni being among the highest picks in the upcoming draft is the main talking point among nearly every Israeli sports fan in general, and the basketball circle in particular and has grown over the last few years".
It will be interesting to see how Wizards head coach Scott Brooks utilizes Avdija in his first year.
Casspi shared on Instagram an old photo of him and Avdija in Maccabi Tel Aviv uniforms, and in the caption he wished the 6-foot-9 athlete good luck in the National Basketball Association. Avdija was an Israeli League Cup victor in 2017, and he's a three-time Israeli League champion.
According to nbadraft.net, they compared Avdija to Hedo Turkoglu. Aside from a tantalizing combination of the forward's size at 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, and his versatile skill set, both Sheppard and Brooks liked Avdija's balance of calm and competitive fire on the court. That versatility is something the Wizards need.
Going into the draft, Avdija was a top prospect, and it was surprising to some that he was still available after the first eight picks. He's confident with the ball in his hands and has no trouble pushing the ball up the floor in transition or working in a pick-and-roll setting in the halfcourt. "He played a big part in my journey", said his son. "While he is a young player who is still developing, he has great experience playing at a high level both professionally and in worldwide competition". But Avdija has plenty of work ahead, on individual skills - Sheppard expects his shot to improve - and learning the Wizards' system at a more physical, faster level than what he's used to in Europe.
DENI AVDIJA: I'm going to keep it on the low.
Other than his father, the players Avdija looked up to as a youngster were largely those on Maccabi's senior team.