Wes Unseld Jr. sees a new level of confidence in Deni Avdija
Unseld sees a new level of confidence in Avdija originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija has been putting his name on teams' radars recently with his standout play on the court. Acquiring the nickname ‘Turbo’, he’s been grabbing the attention of his teammates and coaches, in particular that of head coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Avdija was in full turbo mode during the Wizards’ recent four-game road trip sweep. He averaged 16.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and shot a 57.8% field goal percentage. During their final leg of the trip against the San Antonio Spurs, Avdija poured in a career-high 25 points which helped extend the team’s winning streak to a season-high six games.
On Wednesday, Unseld Jr. was a guest on Sports Junkies on 106.7 the Fan to discuss the impressive hot streak Avdija has been on lately. The Wizards' head coach has noticed a new level of aggression and physicality in his game, which has played a major role in his recent performances.
“You could just see there’s a different level of confidence the way he steps onto the floor,” Unseld Jr. said. “I hope to see this continue but I don’t want to say those numbers will stay the same, I just hope his approach remains intact.”
Unseld Jr. discussed the close relationship Avdija and center Kristaps Porzingis have established over the past two seasons. Two foreign-born players, Porzingis has taken Avdija under his wing and helped with his growth both on and off the floor.
“A lot of guys don’t want to do it, not able to do it, but I think he’s done a terrific job of kind of putting his arm around Deni and really helping his development not only the floor, but in his professional life,” said Unself Jr.
Porzingis is just one of many of Avdija’s teammates who has been thrilled with his recent surge on the floor. Whenever a player on the Wizards delivers a big game, the support system and energy in the locker room just becomes infectious.
“His energy is contagious for all of us,” Porzingis said following the win over the Spurs. “We’re all excited, we have good chemistry off the floor and its showing on the floor.”
Following the trade that sent Rui Hachimura to the Lakers, Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard discussed one of the major reasons for the trade was "to get Deni more responsibility, more opportunity to play." Since the trade, both of those goals have been there for Avdija and the results have shown. Porzingis, however, believes it was not necessarily the promotion that sparked this recent outpour in Turbo’s game.
“I think it’s multiple things, not just because of the trade. He’s been heading towards this, sooner or later he was going to get here…I love to see it for him. I’m so excited and as I said his energy is contagious for us and whenever he’s hooping we’re a different team,” said Porzingis.