The Golden State Warriors might be very interested in one of the most lauded prospects in broader draft/Bulls universe. Or they might just want us to know they’re very interested in one of the most lauded prospects in the broader draft (and Bulls) universe. TBD.
According to The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss, the Warriors organization has met with Israeli forward Deni Avdija. Teams are currently allowed to meet with a total of 10 prospects ahead of the NBA Draft, but they must travel to the player for further evaluation. While in the player’s market, they can run through a series of drills and workouts, as well as administer a medical exam. The Warriors currently hold the No. 2 pick in the draft, and though it’s unclear whether Avdija would get selected this high, it’s clear now that Golden State is interested in the 19-year-old.
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.
First things first, it’s great to hear Golden State was impressed with Avdija on and off the court. Steve Kerr and Co. are no stranger to top-talent, so their positive remarks shouldn’t go unnoticed. Moreover, the more desirable prospects available at the top of the draft the better. Whether the Bulls end up with this particularly kid or not, they hold the fourth pick and its value. The better the options the higher the value of that pick one way or another.
At the same time, there is a good chance this organization knows how much power they hold. We must tread lightly around any overly-enthusiastic workout report. With under a month to go until draft night, this is the perfect time to send out smoke screens, especially with limited access to players. In other words, I can easily believe that the Warriors liked what they saw, but I can also easily believe they added a little extra sauce to their evaluation.
The Warriors have reportedly been searching for a trade partner, after all. Thanks to a nucleus of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, this team is still in win-now mode. Grabbing a player with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft isn’t the worst option in the world, but trading the pick away for a more seasoned player might also prove to be the more beneficial outcome.
Avdija at No. 2 would also be quite a surprise. I’ve seen him sneak into the top-3 on some random mock drafts, but for the most part, he isn’t expected to go any higher than the Bulls pick at No. 4. So, either (1) the Warriors are considering shaking up this draft with a somewhat unexpected selection, (2) the Warriors are interested in Avdija as a trade-down option, or (3) they want to build Avdija’s stock to see if that can get any new bites in the trade market. Color me interested.