- Washington Wizards rookie Deni Avdija will miss the rest of the season with a hairline ankle fracture.
- Avdija was averaging 6.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game in his last 10 games.
- The Wizards have won eight out of their last nine games to move to 10th place in the East.
The resurgent Washington Wizards have caught a bad break late in the season.
Just as when the team was making a spirited run to finish in the Top 10 of the Eastern Conference and get an opportunity to play for a playoff spot, the injury bug struck and claimed prized rookie Deni Avdija.
Deni Avdija out for rest of season due to hairline ankle fracture, according to report https://t.co/LfKnj0SMIm
— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) April 22, 2021
Not that Avdija was having a fantastic rookie campaign, or that he is irreplaceable, but the rookie from Israel was a regular in the Washington rotation who started in 31 of 53 games while contributing decent numbers to the overall production of the team.
Losing a player like that is a blow for any team, no matter how big or not. And for the Wizards, it could have some effect whatever momentum they have built right now.
Sole Possession of 10th Place
The Washington Wizards now have sole possession of 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) April 22, 2021
Following Wednesday’s win over the Golden State Warriors, the Wizards are now 25-33 on the season. And while that’s still 8 games below the .500 mark, that’s still an improvement from early April when Washington was 15 games below the midpoint mark at 17-32 and that has been enough to give them solo 10th place right now which means that if the playoffs started today, they would get the final spot in the four-team play-in tournament.
Under that Play-in tournament, the 7th and 8th seeds of the conference would play one game to determine who gets the 7th spot in the playoffs. The 9th and 10th seeds would also play one game to determine which of them plays the loser of the 7th vs 8th game. The winner of that game earns the final playoff spot in the conference. While the 9th and 10th seeds need two wins to make the playoffs, that’s better than being eliminated outright in previous seasons.
Among the teams in the East who are ranked 7th to 10th, the Wizards are probably the most dangerous team, regardless of record or ranking because not only do they have the league’s best scorer in Bradley Beal, they also have a former MVP in Russell Westbrook who is a walking triple double. Having a go-to guy is an edge but the Wizards have two and that’s key during elimination games.
Stat Leaders and Numbers
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) April 22, 2021
But while the Wizards have one of the most dangerous 1-2 punch in the NBA, they don’t have the luxury of having a powerhouse supporting cast like what the NBA’s elite teams have. Washington’s best player off the bench is sharpshooter Davis Bertans who is averaging 11.7 points per game.
When you take a look at Washington’s second unit, it is composed of Ish Smith, Garrison Matthews, Isaac Bonga, Daniel Gafford, and Bertans. Not to belittle those players who are all capable because they made it to the NBA, but when you go up against the reserves of Brooklyn, the two Los Angeles teams, Milwaukee and the likes, Washington’s supporting cast pales in comparison.
Avdija did start for Washington but he had his share of struggles adjusting to the faster and more physical NBA game. But he was giving the team a solid 24 minutes every time he stepped on the floor. The 20-year old averaged 6.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game in his last 10 games played, a stretch where Washington went 8-2. Of course Beal and Westbrook did most of the damage. But like any other superstar duo in the league, they need their teammates to help them. Hopefully, Washington gets help elsewhere.