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2020 NBA Draft: Matt Babcock gives the Wizards an “A” for the draft, tells fans they should be excited about Deni Avdija

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Babcock also explains why Avdija isn’t another Jan Vesely (so calm down, everyone!)

Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv v CSKA Moscow - Turkish Airlines EuroLeague
Deni Avdija warms up before a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game against CSKA Moscow.
Photo by Seffi Magriso/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Matt Babcock, an NBA draft analyst for Babcock Hoops, has been around basketball in virtually every respect imaginable. He played at the University of Arizona, he was an assistant coach for Virtus Bologna in Italy, he worked as an NBPA-certified agent for over a decade, he wrote for Sports Illustrated, and pretty much his entire family tree has worked in an NBA front office.

“He learned the game from his father, Dave Babcock, Director of Player Personnel for the Milwaukee Bucks and his two uncles, Pete and Rob Babcock, both of whom are former NBA general managers. His two cousins, Chris and Nate Babcock, also hold positions within the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks organizations, respectively,” per his bio on Babcock Hoops.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that Babcock’s evaluation of draft prospects is about as credible as it gets. He joined the Bleav in Wizards podcast to discuss how the Wizards did in the 2020 NBA Draft and how their new players should fit in with their current roster.

“You guys should be excited, I think he’s a really good player. At 9, that’s just a great pick,” Babcock said of Avdija.

I would obviously encourage you to check out the whole interview for a deeper dive but here are some of the major takeaways:

  1. He’s a much better prospect than Jan Vesely was because of his ball skills and versatility
  2. He and Rui Hachimura will actually pair together quite well
  3. The Israeli Basketball Premier League isn’t the absolute best competition but the EuroLeague is second only to the NBA
  4. He should end up being a pretty good defender
  5. He projects mostly as a small forward but has the size play some power forward and even small-ball center
  6. Cassius Winston has limited upside due to his limited physical attributes but could step in from Day 1 and contribute off the bench

Full Episode Breakdown

Larry Hughes’ thoughts on Deni Avdija - 1:30

Who Hughes and I were hoping for - 3:00

Hughes on Cassius Winston - 3:30

Undrafted free agent market - 7:00

Obi Toppin almost falling to Washington and would he have been a better fit - 9:00

Hughes on how effort is Avdija’s path to being a strong defender - 11:30

Avdija’s media session quotes about being a winner and doing whatever it takes to get the Wizards wins - 14:00

Matt Babcock talks about how the Wizards did and what he likes about Avdija - 15:00

Avdija’s pace of play and playing point forward - 16:00

Avdija as a defender and his natural position - 16:30

Is there any real comparison to Jan Vesely - 17:00

Hachimura and Avdija playing together - 17:30

Babcock on Cassius Winston - 18:00

Drafting Avdija at #9 earns the Wizards an “A” grade - 19:00

Devin Vassell and Precious Achiuwa being the Wizards main targets before Avdija fell to them - 21:00

Thoughts on the second round trade - 22:00

Competition level of the Israeli Basketball Premier League and EuroLeague - 22:30

Surprises and sleepers - 23:30

Anthony Edwards saying he’d rather play in the NFL - 26:00

Was the virtual draft a success? - 28:00