Cleveland Cavaliers: Three prospects to avoid in the 2020 NBA Draft

LaMelo Ball of the NBL's Illawarra Hawks looks on. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball of the NBL's Illawarra Hawks looks on. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /
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Deni Avdija, Cleveland Cavaliers
Wing Deni Avdija of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv looks on. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Deni Avdija – Wing, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv

Deni Avdija of the I-BSL’s Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv may easily be the safest overall prospect included on this list, so before anyone freaks out over his inclusion, I understand there’s been vast success for former Euroleague and European-born athletes such as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari, Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis, and most notably, Mavericks superstar playmaker, Luka Doncic. There are still a few notable red-flags for a team such as the Cleveland Cavaliers in regards to Avdija’s future in the NBA, though.

He has drawn significant comparisons to Doncic, and while they absolutely share some traits and even have followed a somewhat similar path, they absolutely are two different players. Deni lacks elite athleticism, but still possesses an elite NBA build for his size at 6-foot-9 and position so he (in a similar vein to Luka) will absolutely have a path to dominate in the NBA if he ever does put it all together.

He has shown promise as a shooter in the form of his willingness to take them this past season against Euroleague competition, as he took 1.81 three-point attempts per outing, per Real GM, but he only made a meager 27.7 percent of those looks in the 26 games he played in outside of the perimeter in his 14.3 minutes per game.

He has shown an ability to control and read the floor at times, but again, in only playing 14.3 minutes per game, his impact there didn’t necessarily shine through, as Avdija had 1.2 assists per game this past season in Euroleague play. There are also questions as to whether or not he will be able to adjust defensively to the NBA.

He simply did not dominate to the same degree that Doncic did in his final season against Euroleague competition, however, Avdija did show flashes of relatively consistent greatness in arguably the world’s second or third-strongest professional league which is quite impressive considering his age (19).

He tends to remind me of a bit bigger version of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman or a bit more versatile version of Gallinari as a player. This is a fine floor for any potential NBA player to have, but certainly produces a genuine argument as to whether or not he will end up being worth the Cavaliers’ first round selection (a pick that is increasingly looking like it will end up in the top five at the least).

He’s easily the 2020 NBA Draft’s most notable European prospect other than Killian Hayes of the G-BBL’s Ratiopharm Ulm, but must simply prove he is not all hype and potential.

Related Story. Three reasons the Cavs should select Killian Hayes in the 2020 NBA Draft. light

If I am the Cavaliers, I do not necessarily have any issue taking Avdija but would prefer that pick be in the six-to-14 area rather than the one-to-five slot that it likely appears to be headed. He would still fit quite well roster-wise next to the rest of the Cavaliers’ young core, but there is also an argument to be made for some almost safer selections to be found later in the first and early second and as such, further ruins his stock as a quality top six selection in my eyes.

The lack of sure-fire star power in this draft does not necessarily mean a team like the Cavaliers can be complacent with finding the right top six (potentially even top three) selection talent and fit-wise. There simply exists better options to be had and thus Deni should be someone to watch for but not necessarily pay serious attention to if I were the Cavaliers.