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A player in the NBA’s second season is traditionally considered a major jump point. The numbers start to show their natural progression after players return from summer break feeling refreshed, both mentally and physically. Deni Avdija, a 20-year-old Israeli, says he already feels a significant improvement in his game even before the 2021-2022 NBA seasons began. 5 צפייה בגלריה Deni Avdija (Photo: Getty Images)The start of the season on October 19 would mark six months since the Washington Wizard’s small forward broke his ankle during a match with the Golden State Warriors on April 21. It’s been a long time since he last played basketball. However, the former Maccabi Tel Aviv forward says he has made a complete turnaround. The Wizards have moved on from last year’s disastrous experiment. Russell Westbrook, the Wizards’ star point guard, has left. Along with him are many key players such as Robin Lopez and Ish Smith. Scott Brooks was replaced by Wes Unseld Jr. Avdija was last season’s small forward and had many opportunities to play due to a lack there being enough depth. But for Avdija the most important thing now after recovering from his injury is only basketball – feel the floor and not think too much about lineup position. 5 צפייה בגלריה Avdija right after being injured during a game with the Golden State Warriors (Photo: Reuters)”It is fun to kick off the second season,”He said. “Recovery took much more than I thought it would, but the team was patient with me and now everything is in place and working as it should be.”Avdija states that rehabilitation was a difficult process. She said it involved going step by step, from getting up to walking to running. “I was patient and managed to get just in time to join training camp,”He said that he felt the same way, and added that he believes “120%”Recovered both mentally and physically. “I feel more mature now, more determined and sharper,”He said. “Other than the physical aspect, I got more used to the training, the games, the intensity of play. It’s a matter of experience.”Avdija’s initial season, although it ended prematurely, was a success and left a impression that he has much more to learn. After going ninth in the draft, he played 54 games, 32 of which he started – even going into quarantine in the middle of the season after coming in contact with a confirmed COVID carrier. 5 TSpyyh bglryh Russell Westbrook and Bradley Bill (Photo: AP)His score of 6.3 points and grabbing just 4.9 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game is not a good indicator of his skill. 5 צפייה בגלריה Russell Westbrook and Bradley Bill (Photo: AP)On the other hand, the numbers cannot show the fact that at just 19, Avdija last season was one of the best defenders on the team, which aided him in getting more playing time. One of his most memorable moments was when he had to guard Lebron James. But if there is one part of his game he had to improve rapidly was his three-pointers, shooting only 31.5% from the field – hardly justifying the many times he was placed at the corner of the arch. Washington signing Westbrook was widely criticized, but Avdija stated that he learned much from the veteran player. “He taught me to be ready for anything and be professional off the field,”He said. “I came into the league from Europe and had to get acclimated to the play style. He gave me time to get a handle on things and was very patient. He showed me I belong in the NBA.” 5 צפייה בגלריה Those who followed the Wizards last season got used to very specific faces and plays: extremely individualistic basketball from Westbrook and Beal, with Latvian forward Davis Bertans shooting threes at his leisure due to a small bench unit – in other words, not very good basketball. The team underwent a major overhaul over the past season and summer. They signed ex-Bull Daniel Gafford and center Montrezl Harrell, who was also 2020 Six Man of Year. Joining the core of Beal and Roy Hachimura are guards Caldwell-Pope, former Brooklyn Net Spencer Dinwiddie and small forwards Kispert and Kyle Kuzma – possible competition with Avdija for the position. 5 צפייה בגלריה Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo: AP)Asked where he sees himself in this new rooster, Avdija says he doesn’t see it as a contest, promising to show his best. “I’m going to play my game and help the team,”He said. “So far, the chemistry is really good in training and the new players are reinvigorating the team’s drive.”Avdija said that he still has many dreams to accomplish, including the primary goal of becoming the first Israeli player in the NBA playoffs. “I believe our team is strong enough to get there,”He said.
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