CBS Sports has Deni Avdija to Cavs at 5 in recent mock draft

Deni Avdija of Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv looks on. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Deni Avdija of Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv looks on. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Deni Avdija is a prospect that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be considering with their fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

At this point, the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently set to have the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, as KJG’s Grant Puskar previously hit on regarding that news. To me, that’s more than fine, quite frankly, and it’s evident that the Cavs should be able to land high quality defensive pieces such as Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Florida State’s Devin Vassell or Patrick Williams, to go with USC’s Onyeka Okongwu.

Cleveland could seemingly have a high possibility of landing Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, too, who could mesh really well with Collin Sexton, as KJG’s Amadou Sow expressed. That’d be feasibly in a starting 1 role in replacement of Darius Garland if that were to occur.

Another potential prospect the Cavaliers could be very well considering could be Deni Avdija of the I-BSL’s Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, who could be a player that could fit in at in considerable stretches at the 3. In some lineups, the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward could fill in at the 4, too, and his anticipation, timing, and active rotational feel could allow him to develop into a plus defender in the near future.

That’d be if he can continue to progress in his development if the Cavs selected him in the 2020 NBA Draft. Perhaps that could end up playing out, too.

In that realm, a recent CBS Sports mock draft had the Cleveland Cavaliers selecting Avdija.

In a recent mock draft released on Friday, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports had the Cavaliers selecting Deni Avdija. Parrish emphasized how Avdija was a “former Most Valuable Player of the FIBA Under-20 European Championship,” and should be the “first non-American international prospect to come off the board.”

In play in the I-BSL in 2019-20, when he was getting a significantly higher minutes-share game-to-game, Avdija had 12.9 points per game on 52.6 percent shooting, including a 35.3 percent clip from three-point range. He had 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 blocks in 27.6 minutes per outing, to go with that.

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Granted, Avdija played much less and was a rotational player in Euroleague play for Maccabi, by and large, and had 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per outing in 14.3 minutes on average, and hit only 27.7 percent of his three-point attempts.

It wasn’t ideal that Avdija in 2019-20 in totality with Maccabi only hitting 58.8 percent of his free throw attempts, and it’s clear that Avdija’s shooting will end up being his swing skill to feasibly end up being a good starter in coming years.

But Parrish did hit on how he did play really well leading into and post-novel coronavirus-induced hiatus for Maccabi and his shooting/scoring potential could be intriguing for the Cavs, and Avdija’s pull-up shooting there have been flashes of.

Plus, his passing feel is one of his strongest attributes in the secondary playmaking sense, and he could potentially be a pick-and-roll playmaker at times for Cleveland and take pressure off of Darius Garland in that regard.

Anyhow, here was most of Parrish’s rationale for him mocking the Cleveland Cavaliers selecting Avdija at number 5 in the 2020 NBA Draft, for context.

"“He’s a 19-year-old Israeli who performed well for Maccabi Tel Aviv in games leading up to the season being suspended – and then again after the season resumed. At 6-9, he’s tall enough to play power forward and skilled enough to play on the wing. And his shooting has noticeably improved. So, according to most evaluators, Avdija now projects as a likely top-five pick – one who would actually be a nice fit in Cleveland with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton in the backcourt.”"

One would assume that Deni Avdija would be drafted with the expectation to overtake Cedi Osman, who largely underwhelmed at the starting 3 for Cleveland in 2019-20, and I would imagine that Avdija could have a much higher ceiling defensively. That’s in at least the team sense, and Avdija is a good decision-maker in the open floor, also.

So could I be on board with Avdija being selected by the Cavs? I’d be okay with it, personally, but a piece such as Okoro and Okongwu or Vassell, from my perspective, I’d rather have.

Avdija’s feel for the game on both ends of the floor, and with the Cavaliers having a great player development staff that has helped Sexton and Larry Nance Jr., for instance, in the shooting sense, though, would make it a solid pick I’d say.

Still, however, Okoro to me, due to his athleticism and defensive versatility more so, and Okongwu in that sense, would be players I’d be personally higher on if available for the Cavs, in any case.

But I can understand from the Cavaliers’ perspective, though, where Parrish was going here in this recent mock draft as seemingly a starting 3 replacement long term for Cedi Osman.

Next. What landing the #5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft means for the Cavs' future. dark

Avdija seems to be a rising prospect that could have promising pull-up/secondary playmaking ability that could peak the Cavs’ interest.