When the Boston Celtics drafted Abdel Nader with the 58th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, many Celtic fans were still trying to figure out who Guerschon Yabusele was.
To say that Nader flew under the radar on draft day is an understatement. But his performances during Summer League have been anything but.
The 6-foot-6 inch, 22 year old forward out of Iowa State has been a pleasant surprise during Summer League and may have earned himself a spot on next season’s roster. However, Nader did say after being drafted that he was willing to play in the D-League, according to Draft Express, which could help out Danny AInge with his roster flexibility in case of any trades that could occur.
#58 pick Abdel Nader from Iowa State has agreed to be stashed in the D-League next year.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2016
Has he earned himself a spot on the roster? I think so. For one, Nader can shoot the ball and has shown consistency beyond the arc, converting 36.3 percent from deep and 49 percent from the field.
Nader can drive to the basket and put a poster on his opposition. Just look at his drive below. It wasn’t the prettiest of dunks, but that type of aggression and confidence to drive to the basket from the three-point line is a great sign for any young player.
The great thing about watching Nader play in Summer League was that he improved with each game as if he was in a constant battle to outdo himself.
Game 1: 3 points
Game 2: 6 points
Game 3: 7 points
Game 4: 12 points
Game 5: 13 points
Game 6: 10 points
Game 7: 13 points
Game 8: 16 points
That type of progression is exactly what the Celtics are looking for. Beyond Jae Crowder, there isn’t a capable forward coming off the bench to hold down the three spot in the rotation besides another rookie, Jaylen Brown. James Young won’t be that veteran to pick up the slack, sadly, but Nader has stepped up and taken on the underdog role as a second round pick to his advantage.
I feel that because he said he was willing to go to the D-League right off the bat, that’s where he will be next season. Having said that, I would be shocked if he didn’t at least feature in several games for the C’s next season, similar to the way Terry Rozier and Jordan Mickey floated around as fringe roster players last season.
Nadar was a great pickup for Ainge and will hopefully continue to blossom into a serviceable NBA forward in the coming seasons. He deserves more recognition than he is getting, but I’m sure his time will come soon.
Follow David McCracken on Twitter @crackemc
Photo Cred: Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images David McCracken 7/21/2016 08:00:00 AM Tweet Edit