While the NBA’s international players leave their mark as the caliber of players, high-level beginners, the NBA Draft has evolved. Scouts are spending more time abroad and general managers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of drafting an international perspective.
This could open the door for the Knicks to enter the most sought-after international player in the NBA 2020 Draft: Deni Avdija.
The Knicks will enter the NBA 2020 offseason with an expectation looming large: the acquisition of a director. It is possible that New York could renew the signature of Elfrid Payton, who had a positive impact on the team in 2019-2020, or even draft a guard.
Aggravated by the expected development of RJ Barrett in this regard, New York could be a solid offensive team sooner than later.
What makes Avdija such a compelling prospect, however, is the fact that it can actually help as a director. It seems strange to say this about a power forward, but this is not a Julius Randle situation, in the sense that a 4 can accumulate assists.
Avdija has an advanced view of the pitch and the passing ability not only to find the man open, but to bring his teammates to their points.
In the middle of the field, Avdija is able to handle the pick and roll as director. This creates the potential for a unique offensive call for him and Mitchell Robinson, as well as the ability to create misalignments via smaller defender switches.
Avdija, like all young players, will have to improve his decision-making process, but he has a toughness and bravado that jumps off the pitch.
Selecting an international player in 2020 carries more risk than ever due to the limitations created by COVID-19, but Avdija deserves an authentic look.
If the New York Knicks help him realize his potential, Deni Avdija could be the missing piece of the puzzle.