Israeli Representation In The NBA
The 2020 NBA draft was held on November 18, 2020. NBA teams took turns selecting amateur US college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players. Two Israeli basketball players, in particular, made history when they were picked by major teams in the 2020 NBA draft.
The Washington Wizards selected Deni Avdija, an Israeli-Serbian professional basketball player, with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The 6’9 player, who plays the small forward and power forward positions and has spent the past two seasons with Maccabi Tel-Aviv, a Euroleague power, is considered the most promising Israeli player in a decade. He competed in the 2019 under-20 European Championships final and his stat line included: 23 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, and 1 steal. Israel beat Spain for the gold and Avdija was the tournament MVP. He is the second player from Israel to be drafted in the first round. In a statement to the press after his draft pick, Avdija said, "For me just to represent my country and to make history, that's a blessing. I have the whole nation behind me. I hope I'm going to represent it well."
Another Israeli player also made it into the big leagues, as the Boston Celtics' 47th and final pick of the 2020 NBA draft was Hapoel Tel Aviv point guard Yam Madar. Yam Madar is a quick and shifty Israeli point guard who has shown to be a specialist in passing and handling. His career highlights include a strong performance at the 2019 U20 European Championships, having a remarkable all-around showing as he led the event in assists, and was the second-best scorer for his team. He was a leading role in helping Israel to the gold medal.