By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Being named the starting small forward of the Washington Wizards launched the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season for Deni Avdija.
Avdija, 21, carried a groin injury from his participation in the 2022 EuroBasket with the Israel senior national team and missed the entire 2022 NBA Preseason. However, he earned the spot in the starting unit of Wes Unseld Jr.
“It just shows coach and the organization trust in me,” he told NBC Sports Washington, “They chose that they believe in me and they think that I deserve to be a starter and create and get some of the pressure off the other guys in the starting five. I feel like I’m kind of the glue guy in the starting five.”
Opening his third NBA campaign, he picked up an injury on his right ankle against the Indiana Pacers. Despite the setback, he managed to retain his spot in the starting unit over the next two games as well. Averaging 4.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.3 blocks per contest paint the picture of his early-season efforts, but duties and thus contribution extends beyond stats.
“I’m trying to make the right play. I’m playing defense, I’m rebounding. I’m trying to do everything I can to help the team and get pressure off from a couple of players that you could say are ball dominant more,” Avdija described his role.
Over the first two seasons of his NBA career, he started in 40 of 136 games played with the Wizards.
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