Cavaliers Rumors: Deni Avdija Below LaMelo Ball, More After 'Extensive Homework'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2020

Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv's Deni Avdija controls the ball during the Euro League basketball match between Olimpia Milan and Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv, in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

As they evaluate their options in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers consider Maccabi Tel Aviv prospect Deni Avdija to be in the group of players just below the best available.

According to Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor, the Cavs "have done extensive homework on Avdija" and believe him to be in "a large cluster of players in the second tier." 

Memphis center James Wiseman, Illawarra Hawks guard LaMelo Ball and Georgia guard Anthony Edwards make up the first tier.  

The success of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has alleviated some fears about how Europe-based players will transition to the NBA. But whereas Doncic was a EuroLeague champion and the league's MVP in 2018, Avdija averaged 13.8 minutes and attempted 47 total shots in 26 EuroLeague games for Maccabi.

The 19-year-old played far more regularly in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, in which he averaged 12.3 points and shot 67.3 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.

The order of the 2020 draft remains fluid with the status of the 2019-20 season still up in the air. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that NBA owners are expected to approve a plan that would see action resume with 22 teams in Orlando, Florida.

How that might impact the draft lottery is among the many issues that need to be resolved but aren't a priority for the moment. Going off the traditional format, the Cavs would have a 14.0 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick and a 52.1 percent chance of landing in the top three, per Tankathon.

Fedor wrote Cleveland is looking at value more than roster fit in the first round, though the 6'9" Avdija would address a need on a team lacking reliable wings.

The team has used top-10 picks on guards in back-to-back years (Collin Sexton in 2018 and Darius Garland in 2019).

Between Sexton, Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., the backcourt is already getting a little crowded. While there's some logic behind letting everybody fight for minutes and watching the cream rise to the top, young players often need a level of stability in order to develop fully.

By throwing Ball or Edwards into the mix, the Cavs might end up having little to show for their combined investment because nobody would have had the opportunity to truly shine.