Deni Avdija was dropping dimes in win over Detroit Pistons


Washington Wizards Deni Avdija. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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There was much to be excited about when the Washington Wizards defeated the Eastern Conference’s worst team. Bradley Beal recorded his fourth 30-point game in a row. Russell Westbrook extended his triple-double streak to seven games; Daniel Gafford was the first wizard with consecutive four-block games since 2013. But if the Wizards want to make some noise in the play-in tournament and eventually the playoffs, they need input from other places besides their brilliant backcourt. You need a good game of rotation players like Deni Avdija, and the rookie showed what he can do with the ball in the team’s 121-100 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Deni Avdija shows his playing skills in the Washington Wizards win against Detroit Pistons.

Deni Avdija wasn’t the best player on the floor last night. Judging by the boxing rating, his game was pretty pedestrian: three points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. But he finished the game with the second best plus / minus of the game (+20) behind only Bradley Beal. And he made some formidable games despite not filling out the stats sheet, including the game’s most memorable game when he linked up with Russell Westbrook in an alley.

Avdija also gave the Wizards fans a glimpse of what could be a far more common sight in a couple of years – quick endorsement for Rui Hachimura. We don’t see these two leading the hiatus too often (though they were also involved in the New Orleans win), but the two lottery picks could do a lot more of the keys in a few years after Beal and Westbrook handed over the keys .

Avdija hasn’t had a single game with more than five assists this season, and those were his only two in defeating Detroit. In the first 52 games of his NBA career, Avdija averaged just 1.2 assists per game. Despite the small number, Avdija often looks the most convenient for his teammates to create, and this season has a fair share of highlights worth highlighting.

If Avdija shares the pitch with Westbrook and Beal, two players who currently have a usage rate of over 31 percent, there aren’t many options for him to do it. Maybe that seems to be why his game pops out on break because steals and defensive rebounds are the only time he gets his hands on the ball and has a chance to really do something.

When given some freedom, Avdija is a willing and smart passerby and can add another dimension to the offense if he has a slightly longer leash. Beal and Westbrook are brilliant, but the offense can often become predictable when the two guards dominate everything. A new crease wouldn’t hurt.


Dusty Kennedy