Top European prospect this year, Deni Avdija, declares for NBA draft

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This was expected, but on Thursday it became official, Deni Avdija has put his name in the NBA draft.

Projected as a top-10, possibly top-5 pick, the 6’9″ forward who played this past season for European power Maccabi Tel Aviv, made it official on ESPN’s “Get Up” show Thursday. Via Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

“First of all, the NBA is the best league in the world. There is a lot to learn over there and a lot of experience there,” Avdija said. “It’s going to be great to take my game to the next level.”

Avdija averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds in a limited role, getting 19 minutes per game last season. He stood out in recent NBA Basketball Without Borders events.

Avdija is a point forward who has proven adept at reading and passing out of the pick-and-roll. However, he needs to improve his shot — 32 percent from three last season — to be a real threat in that role. The fact he shot 58 percent on free throws last season is a bit concerning. He’s got the potential to be a solid defender and he is maturing physically still, so he will get stronger and faster.

Officially the NBA draft is still scheduled for June 25, but teams are asking the league to push it back until at least August. Once the NBA figures out what it is doing with the season it will slot the draft, but sources around the league expect it will be in the fall.