The New York Knicks are keeping tabs on many draft prospects. One prospect who some within the organization are high on is currently playing winning basketball overseas for the powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv team in the Israeli Basketball Premier League. Deni Avdija is wowing scouts with his feel for the game, his sudden improved shooting ability, and his overall savviness on both ends of the court. The 19-year old is looking like a seasoned veteran according to some.
Avdija is currently averaging 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Basketball Premier League. According to an Israeli NBA reporter by the name of Eran Soroka, who has been keeping a close eye on Deni Avdija, the young prospect is relishing the big stage. This kind of player would definitely relish Madison Square Garden.
The Israeli NBA reporter Eran Soroka also went on to describe Avdija’s play recently according to SB Nation.
Soroka: “He’s playing on the big stage. The EuroLeague is the second-best in the world. He played well at a younger age, like at the Under-19, and Under-21 tournaments, and led Israel —which had never won a championship— to two straight titles. He played dominant basketball, and was amazing on both sides of the court. He played above the level of the rest, and did it so graciously. He makes things looks easy. The way he dominated reminded people of Luka Doncic, now he’s not Luka Doncic, but he showed how good he can be. When Maccabi Tel Aviv started at the beginning of the season, they had Omri Casspi, and they had a full squad with [former NBA players] Quincy Acy, Tarik Black, but as the season progressed, a lot of players went down with injuries.
Once Caspi went down, Deni started to get his minutes because of all the injuries, and started to get a lot of playing time. When he got the playing time, he got the confidence, which is all he needed. Then, he started to perform at a very good level. He made some amazing plays in a game against one of the top teams in the EuroLeague. He had some big dunks, and an in-your-face 3-pointer after making some beautiful moves over Jan Vesely, who is one of the top two-or-three players in the EuroLeague.
This game was the coming out party, he proved to the people who weren’t sure that he was able to do it. He wasn’t a dominant player, for me he’s like a Joe Ingles type player. He makes everybody better, smart passes, smart cuts, he can dominate without having the ball in his hands. When he does have the ball, he can beat you with a lot of savviness. Then they had a game against Anadolu Efes Istanbul, which is one of the best teams. They have Shane Larkin, who is the MVP of the EuroLeague.
At the end of the game, Anadolu setup a play to get Larkin the ball in isolation. Avdija was guarding him, so Anadolu kept running a pick-and-roll to get the switch, but Avdija ditched the switch, and made Larkin take a tough 3-pointer to win the game, which gave Maccabi a big win over the top-team in Europe. The maturity of guarding the best player in Europe, and making him miss was a good measurement of his growth. He’s playing with a lot of swag, he can go right, he can go left, and he can shoot from the outside. After Doncic’s rise, it made a lot of people notice Advija. When they saw at the age of 19 that he can do such things against quality opponents, and good former NBA players, it made his stock even higher.