Draft & (D-League) Stash: Abdel Nader continues to put up big numbers in Maine (video)
When the Celtics couldn't consolidate or trade enough of their draft picks this past June, they had to get creative. There weren't enough roster spots for all the draft picks, so they used a couple picks on draft and stash foreign players and what is becoming more common the past couple years in the NBA, they used one pick on a draft and D-League stash rookie.
After possibly being the Celtics most impressive player in the Summer League, Abdel Nader continued his strong play by putting up big numbers to start the Red Claws season (See here and here). Upon returning from a shoulder injury, he immediately picked up where he left off (see above video).
On a competitive team like the Celtics you can only play so many rookies and 2nd year players. Brad Stevens gave Marcus Smart a lot of playing time in his rookie year and Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown have both gotten minutes this season. But other players like Jordan Mickey, James Young, Demetrius Jackson, and R.J. Hunter (while he was here) suffer or have suffered from the roster squeeze. It's a numbers game.
So while on another team like Philly or Brooklyn, more young players like the above or Nader might get rotation minutes. In Boston, Nader would just be taking up one of the guaranteed 15 spots, so he bides his time in the D-League.
Expect Nader to likely be promoted to the Celtics roster next season. Will his Summer League and D-League success translate to a productive NBA career? Who knows honestly. Other players before him have put up big numbers in the D-League and had nothing NBA careers. Nader does a lot of things that teams in the new NBA look for; he's a solid all around player. My one concern would be whether he could do those same things against the increased athleticism of NBA players. It's a different speed in the NBA.
For now we have to be impressed with his continued strong play. Also keep an eye on a possible late season multi year contract signing of Nader, with the future years being team options. This would give Nader a taste of the NBA and some added income in 2017, while giving the Celtics flexibility in trades this coming summer.
See how fellow 2016 draftees Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic are progessing by clicking here.
Related: Video: Celtics 2nd round draft pick, Abdel Nader, impressive in start to Maine Red Claws season
A quick look at Abdel Nader and the Maine Red Claws
Abdel Nader: No longer under the radar