Cavs draft: Deni Avdija is Collin Sexton-esque as a competitor

Wing Deni Avdija (#8) of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv looks to shoot. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images)
Wing Deni Avdija (#8) of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv looks to shoot. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Deni Avdija’s competitiveness should be a selling point for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If he’s on the board for the Cleveland Cavaliers at #5 in the 2020 NBA Draft, Deni Avdija would seem to be well in-play for the Wine and Gold. Avdija is among the top wings in this class, and might be the top one, when considering his two-way potential.

That’s also with the encouraging shooting flashes he displayed in recent seasons for Israeli club Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.

Avdija being able to feasibly be a quality option at the 3 and 4, and perhaps in jumbo lineups/at the de facto 2 at times for Cleveland, even, is another strength of his game.

While Avdija was a rotational contributor mostly in Euroleague play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, him putting up 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 27.6 minutes per contest in I-BSL play in 2019-20 in a more significant role indicated that he could have a bright NBA future.

For a 19-year-old, Avdija’s instincts on the both ends of the floor, both on and off-ball, jump out. And his passing capabilities for a 6-foot-9 forward are particularly appealing for today’s NBA, and could be so impactful for the Cavs, and ease playmaking burden on pieces such as Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr.

That said, while I’m not questioning Isaac Okoro’s, Obi Toppin’s or Onyeka Okongwu’s competitiveness, as other realistic targets, for example, Avdija’s competitiveness, to me, is Collin Sexton-esque. In that way, I believe Sexton would be so drawn to Avdija early on as a teammate in-game/in practice, too.

Avdija’s Sexton-esque mentality in-game is a key strength, from a Cavs’ perspective.

Avdija’s all-around skill set and shooting potential, of course, the main draw involving him when it comes to the 2020 NBA Draft. I don’t want to necessarily downplay that here, and KJG’s own Zane Harris also alluded to clearcut reasons for the Cavaliers to go with Avdija if he’s on the board at #5.

Albeit to me, another attribute of Deni Avdija’s that comes to mind to me is the fierce competitiveness he has when he’s on the floor, which seems to be Sexton-esque.

Having young players that are going to scratch and claw and not be afraid to talk to opponents to get themselves going to an extent can give Cleveland some energy throughout games, and you see that with Sexton never backing down. And Deni has that/a swagger to him that seems to give him juice when he’s on the floor.

Here was more in regards to that, via’s Eric Fawcett.

"“Avdija is dripping with confidence every time he steps on the floor and that fearlessness will serve him well when he arrives in North America. Watching him compete for Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of the best clubs in Europe, he was often the loudest trash talker on the floor and his desire to dominate his opponent was apparent.”"

Now, you wouldn’t want this sort of thing to be a detriment to the team in-game, but I wouldn’t foresee that being the case with Avdija.

Plus, young guys having a certain swagger to them, mixed with being ultra competitive, could contribute to helping get the Cleveland Cavaliers on the right track. Avdija being an extremely hard worker I’m sure plays into his supreme confidence, too, though.

Granted, Okoro is reportedly an especially diligent worker as well, and as also an Atlanta-area native, is close with Collin Sexton, per’s Chris Fedor. And it’s clear that Okoro would fit right into the hard-working culture the Cavs are trying to build.

In any case, while I’m again not suggesting that Okoro, Okongwu, Toppin (though his defensive weaknesses scare me), and/or perhaps Patrick Williams’ competitiveness is not a key strength, Avdija’s confidence and just pure tenacity out on the floor is Sexton-esque. That’s what it seems from my vantage point, at least.

And I’d imagine that in-game/behind the scenes, Avdija not being bashful in terms of talking could really give his teammates on the Cavs, such as Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and others, juice, potentially in a starting 3 role over Cedi Osman even fairly early on next season.

Avdija having that proverbial “dog” in him jumps out to me, and that ultra competitive mentality should bode well for him at the next level, as Fawcett hit on.

Next. 3 potential career outcomes for Avdija if he's Cavs' pick. dark

Avdija’s definitely a 2020 NBA Draft prospect that I’d be more than on-board with the Cavaliers selecting at their pick come Nov. 18, in the NBA’s virtual draft. The same goes for Okongwu and Okoro, in particular, though, for instance.