Deni Avdija made a big splash in his NBA preseason debut for the Washington Wizards on Sunday.
The Israeli-Serbian forward scored 15 points in 24 minutes and showcased his shooting skills in a 119-114 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
In fact, Avdija didn’t miss a shot. The 19-year-old was 6-for-6 overall, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. He also contributed four rebounds and two assists.
“It was a dream come true,” Avdija, who started the game, told reporters.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks was pleased with Avdija’s effort and performance in his first game in an NBA uniform.
“(I liked) that he competed, that he took the challenge,” Brooks commented. “He was playing against some high-level players, players that have a lot of success in this league that have experience. He took the challenge.”
Second-year pro Rui Hachimura led Washington with 18 points and Nets floor leader Kyrie Irving also scored 18 to lead his team.
Nets forward Kevin Durant saw court time for the first time since the 2019 NBA Finals, when he starred for the Golden State Warriors. He missed the entire 2019-20 season while recovering from a ruptured right Achilles tendon injury in Game 5 of the Finals.
Durant finished with 15 points, all of which he scored in the second half.
Deni Avdija plied his craft for Maccabi Tel Aviv before declaring for the NBA Draft earlier this year.
Avdija, the 2020 Israeli League MVP, demonstrated his all-around skills, including stellar shooting, during Maccabi Tel Aviv’s league championship runs in each of the three previous seasons.
Among his banner performances in 2020 was a 26-point effort (9-for-12 shooting) against Hapoel Eilat on Feb. 1. In the COVID-19-interrupted Isaraeli League season, Avdija averaged 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Avdija was the No. 9 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Deni Avdija led the way
The future Washington Wizard scored a game-high 23 points for Israel in the FIBA U20 European Championship title match against Spain in July 2019. Israel defended its title, winning 92-84.