The Wizards have selected Deni Avdija with the ninth pick overall in the 2020 NBA Draft! Here are reactions from media members and outlets around the league on the selection.
ESPN's Mike Schmitz: "I think this is gonna be the steal of the draft, to be honest. I think Deni Avdija, when we look back five years from now, we're gonna see a guy who could be the best player, even, to come out of this draft."
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony: “Considered a strong candidate to hear his name called in the top five, Deni Avdija falling all to way to the end of the top 10 was a bit of a surprise. Part of that was by design, as Avdija's camp was highly selective in electing where to send medical info. They favored good development situations where he could find immediate playing time in a strong organization.
“Avdija should find everything he was looking for in Washington. There is playing time to be had and opportunities to develop his playmaking and shooting ability in one of the NBA's most up-tempo offenses.”
Draymond Green via Twitter: “Steal of the draft @cassiuswinston prove em wrong Spartan Dawg.... AGAIN! They love for us to show them TWICE!”
Magic Johnson via Twitter: “Congratulations to one of the greatest leaders and men in Spartan history, @cassiuswinston, for getting drafted.”
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie: “Avdija profiles as a high-level secondary creator on offense. He’s an extremely high-level passer, and a terrific ballhandler for his size. Having said that, everything comes down to how you evaluate the shot…He’s definitely an NBA player because it’s hard to find guys who are this big and this skilled that have such high feel for the game. But if he shoots it, he’ll be a very high-level starter.”
The Washington Post: “For the second year in a row, Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard tapped into more than two decades of international basketball experience to take an overseas player in the NBA draft. This time, he set his sights on Israel’s Deni Avdija, a small forward with the versatility to plug into multiple different lineups and give Washington the depth and defensive bump it craves.
“Now 19 and 6-foot-9 with a guard’s ballhandling skills, Avdija should be able to bolster the Wizards’ defensive presence on the perimeter and, at times, play alongside forward Rui Hachimura, the international pick the Wizards took at No. 9 last year.
“Winston, a 6-1, four-year player for the Spartans, lands in Washington as one of the more polished point guards in the draft and a capable backup for John Wall, who is expected to play his first NBA games in two years after coming back from an Achilles’ injury.”
The Ringer: “Avdija should be able to help right away for a team desperate to make the playoffs. He’s a combo forward with the ability to match up with multiple positions on defense and serve as a secondary playmaker on offense. The question is whether he can refine his jumper enough to thrive in an off-ball role next to Bradley Beal. Spacing upfront could be tight between Avdija and Rui Hachimura, another combo forward who lives in the midrange. Avdija probably won’t become a star, but he’s smart and tough enough to carve out a long NBA career.”
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on Twitter: “I love the Deni Avdija fit with Bradley Beal and John Wall. Adds a big playmaker who can share the ball with them—he can be used as a screener to force switches and mismatches. He can play right away too for a Wizards team with playoff aspirations. Potential steal of the draft.”
SB Nation: “Avdija was being hyped as a top-five pick throughout the pre-draft process, but the rise of Patrick Williams, Isaac Okoro, and Killian Hayes pushed him down the board to No. 9. The Wizards will be happy to scoop him up. Avdija has a jack-of-all-trades skillset without a major weakness in his game…Avdija’s combination of aggressive drives to the rim with high-IQ passing should make him a nice pick for Washington.”
CBS Sports: “Most people I spoke with thought that Avdija was the best international prospect in this draft. I had Toppin ahead of Avdija, and many people in the NBA told me I was wrong for that. But here he was for the Wizards to grab him. There are some mixed reviews on Avdija coming from European scouts, but this makes sense because they probably weren't expecting him to be available.”
CBS Sports: "The Wizards did a nice job of letting the board fall to them and being patient. Deni Avdija was a surprise slip to No. 9, and they pulled the trigger, giving them a combo forward who can make plays next to Bradley Beal. And Cassius Winston gives the team depth at point guard, which has been a weak spot on the roster. Two winning players with impressive past production and pedigree who should upgrade the roster in Washington."
NBA International: “I just said this with Toppin, but I cannot believe Avdija fell this far.
As a lengthy forward with uncanny playmaking ability for someone who's 6-foot-9, Avdija's ceiling is among the highest of any player in this class. His perimeter shooting raised some question marks and he still needs to put on size, but he has all the intangibles to be great in the league.
“He gives the Wizards a promising piece for the future and will fit seamlessly next to guys like John Wall, Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura.”
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo: “We knew someone was going to fall in the lottery, and with Okoro rising to No. 5 as Cleveland’s choice, Avdija ended up being the player who fell. Wizards boss Tommy Sheppard has long operated with an open mind toward international talent, and unexpectedly lands a player who fits quite well with Washington’s current pieces. Avdija has great size and passing vision for a forward, and the hope is that he’ll develop into a player capable of bringing the ball up the floor and running secondary offense once his ballhandling gets up to speed. Avdija comes with some defensive concerns, but he’s a strong value for Washington at No. 9, and a player they likely weren’t expecting to be on the board. The Wizards are hoping to push for the playoffs this season, and they’ll hope Avdija’s pro experience helps him acclimate quickly.”
Sports Illustrated: “The Wizards were quietly one of the most entertaining teams in the league last season, and Deni Avdija should only add to the offensive excitement in the nation’s capital. Avdija is an exceptional playmaker for his size, and he should serve as a nice compliment to Rui Hachimura in the frontcourt. If John Wall returns to near his previous form in 2020-21, Washington could be home to a sneaky playoff contender.”
For The Win: “I’d say grabbing a top-five talent here was the right call, even if there are other needs (interior defense) on the roster. Winston was also a terrific pick for where they got him.”
FanSided: “Deni Avdija wasn’t supposed to fall this far, but other teams’ misfortune is the Wizards’ reward...Avdija won’t be a star, but he’s a high-end role player who can defend multiple positions on defense as a forward.
“He’ll need to work on his jump shot to make the spacing feasible alongside Rui Hachimura, but he’s got enough in his toolkit to carve out an effective career for himself.”
New York Post: “Avdija dropped but could be a strong pickup for the Wizards if his aggressive offensive mentality sticks in the NBA. Winston was a heart-and-soul type of player at Michigan State who could carve out a role.”
Seth Davis on Twitter: “I'll say it again. Cassius Winston was the best player in the toughest conference in the country.”