Abdel Nader on his journey to the the NBA

Last summer Abdel Nader signed a D-League contract with the Maine Red Claws for $25,000 after being selected 58th-overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2016 NBA draft. Nader turned down a significant offer from a Russian team overseas because he wanted to stay closer to the NBA, his ultimate goal. Flash-forward to today and the 23-year old from Egypt has recently signed a 4-year $6 million contract with the Celtics after a stellar rookie season in the D-league.

Nader transferred from Northern Illinois to Iowa State after his Sophomore year in college, believing he had better exposure to NBA teams playing in the Big 12. Even though he had continued success playing for the Cyclones he still wasn't getting any attention heading into the 2016 draft. Via Jay King of MassLive:

"I wasn't on any mock drafts," he recalled. "It was kind of like, 'Man, I'm getting no love,'" he remembered. "It was kind of demoralizing. But the key is, man, don't ever get discouraged no matter what happens. A bad game, bad workout, you can't get discouraged -- especially in basketball, because there's too many things that could go your way or not go your way."

Nader channeled that discouragement into motivation as he made it his mission to dominate his opposition in the NBA's development league. He landed himself on the shortlist for D-League MVP averaging 21.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists and ultimately walked away with the Rookie of the Year award:

"My mindset going into the season was just kill everything, man. I wanted to kill everybody. The best players that were put in front of me, I wanted to attack them. I wanted to prove to the Boston Celtics that I'm ready."

Nader continued to shine in the summer league this offseason for the Celtics and all his hard work paid off with an NBA deal with the very team that drafted him. He's not going to stop there though, as he knows that the opportunity to solidify his place with the Celtics will present itself:

"I just have to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to me -- which I know I will -- and just go from there," Nader said. "Because I can really play any position 1-4. So someway, somehow, I know I'll get an opportunity. And like I said, I'll just try to prove myself with every opportunity that I'm given."

Photo Credit - Boston Globe

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