No. 2: Deni Avdija
This next sentence might be nothing more than a broken record this summer. The Cleveland Cavaliers must improve their wing position in order to win; that’s abundantly clear, and why the Wine and Gold have been linked to numerous targets to bolster that position and for their team spacing. Selected four spots after Isaac Okoro, Washington’s Deni Avdija continues to improve as the years go on but has yet to find his full identity as an NBA talent.
The Israel-born forward has a career three-point percentage of 31. Last season, Avdija only ended in the 16th percentile of three-point shooters at his position, according to Cleaning the Glass (subscription required). Clearly, then, Avdija’s value does not come from behind the arc. His defense, though, ranked much better. He ended the season in the 78th percentile for steals and 97th percentile in rebounding missed shots for which he was the primary defender.
Cleveland may be hesitant to take another risk on a non-threat from three at their starting small forward position, but his defensive capabilities may be worth the risk in a bench role. He would not be the answer for the Cavs, but he would help hold opposing shooters from taking over the court.