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Warriors ‘blown away’ by Israeli prospect Deni Avdija after workout and meeting, per report

We now have official confirmation that the 2020 NBA Draft will be held on Nov. 18, and will be a virtual event hosted at ESPN’s studios in Connecticut. But outside of the time and date, and the fact that commissioner Adam Silver will be in studio to announce the picks, nothing about the draft is clear. 

There’s no consensus No. 1 pick, and no guarantee that the Minnesota Timberwolves or Golden State Warriors — who hold the first and second overall picks, respectively — will even be making their selections. If they do end up staying put instead of trading down, both teams will have a number of options, depending on how much of a risk they want to take. 

The most recent bit of information indicates that the Warriors are interested in Israeli prospect Deni Avdija. In fact, they were “blown away” after meeting with him and watching him work out down in Atlanta earlier this week, according to Ethan Strauss of The Athletic:

Steve Kerr and other members of the Warriors organization worked out Maccabi Tel Aviv prospect Deni Avdija on Thursday morning in Atlanta, according to sources. By all accounts, it was a positive get together, one in which the 19-year-old Israeli impressed observers. Not only did Avdija perform well in the workouts, but Warriors officials were blown away after meeting with him. The universal takeaway was that he’s a “great kid” with an immense work ethic.

Avdija, despite being just 19 years old, has already been playing professionally for three years with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel and won the MVP Award in the Israeli League last season. He’s widely expected to be a top-five pick in the upcoming draft, though he seems to be penciled in a tier below the likes of LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards — at least in terms of draft order. 

As Strauss notes in his report, there’s certainly no guarantee that the Warriors are going to take the leap and pick Avdija at No. 2 overall, but the fact that they’re putting in such effort to scout prospects shows that keeping the pick — or at least trading down a few slots rather than out of the first round completely — is in play. 

With the skill he has for a player his size, and his extensive professional experience at such a young age, it’s clear why Avdija is expected to be off the board quickly on draft night. Whether the Warriors will take him, however, is another story. There have been so many rumors coming out of Golden State that it’s hard to put too much stock in any one of them. 

They reportedly don’t want to take a center, have been interested in Edwards, might end up trading the pick, and now have apparently been “blown away” by Avdija. And there’s still another month until draft night, which means plenty of time for more leaks from the Warriors’ camp. 

Whatever happens, we’ll have to keep monitoring the Warriors situation given their status as a potential contender next season. It’s rare that a team with as much talent as them has such a high pick in the draft, and that opens up so many different options. 

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