Deni Avdija played alongside Russell Westbrook during his rookie season, as the Israeli wing had the chance to learn from a future Hall of Famer.
With Westbrook now in Los Angeles after one memorable season in Washington, Avdija described his relationship with his former teammate.
(via NBC Sports Washington):
“Russ made me tough mentally, for sure. Playing with a great player like Russ, it wasn’t easy, especially as a rookie. He demands a lot off you on the court and I experienced it sometimes the hard way, whether it’s him shouting on me sometimes during the game,” avdija claimed.
The promising forward had several up and down moments in his first NBA season, as he was mainly used as a player coming off the bench to provide some spark.
Avdija had not been always successful in his role, but Westbrook’s toughness and poise helped him become a better player, especially in the mental part of the game.
“I just want to say thank you to him because he just made me stronger. He helped me come into the NBA and really made my mind better. I thank him for a great first year,” Avdija said.
The former Maccabi wing appeared in 54 games with the Wizards, averaging 6.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23 minutes per game.