Deni Avdija made history Wednesday night.
Avdija was selected by the Washington Wizards with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft and with that became the highest selected Israeli player ever in the NBA.
Avdija will join T.J. Leaf as the only active NBA players who were born in Israel. Joe Alexander, Omri Casspi and Gal Mekel were also Israeli players who played in the NBA.
Alexander was the previous top selection, having gone No. 8 在里面 2008 NBA Draft to the Milwaukee Bucks. Alexander was born in Taiwan but held U.S. and Israeli citizenship.
“We were absolutely thrilled to get the opportunity to select Deni at the ninth pick and add his versatility, toughness and effort on the defensive end to our roster,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “While he is a young player who is still developing, he has great experience playing at a high level both professionally and in international competition.”
While still young, Avdija has been a professional basketball player since he was a teenager.
He’s been a star for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the EuroLeague since he was 16. He helped Israel to two gold medals in the FIBA U20 European Championship.
在里面 2019 FIBA U20 European Championships, he averaged 18.4 点数, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He won the MVP of the tournament.
“I love Deni’s competitive spirit and feel for the game and I’m excited to help him continue to improve when we begin camp in a few weeks,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “His toughness and overall skill set will allow us to use him in multiple lineups and allow him to seamlessly blend in with our team.”
As long as there are no trades between now and Dec. 23, Avdija could be starting the season playing alongside a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal.