Abdel Nader continued what has been a strong Summer League showing with 10 points on 4-6 shooting against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night
With all the controversy and hoopla surrounding the Boston Celtics offseason, it is understandable why small forward Abdel Nader, the 58th overall selection in the 2016 draft, flew under the radar.
The Iowa State product was originally drafted as a potential D-League stash on draft night, with the initial understanding being that he would agree to spend his rookie season in Maine. However, following his recent breakout in Summer League, there is no guarantee that Nader will make the trip north rather than remaining on NBA roster at the beginning of the season.
With a stellar 10-point showing in the Celtics’ 88-82 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, Nader continued what has already been an eye-opening summer. He reached double-digits in scoring for a notable third straight outing, going 4-of-6 from the field.
Disproving the notion that his three-point shooting is subpar, Nader knocked down both of his attempts from deep against the Mavericks, while showcasing his ability to put the ball on the floor with a beautiful floater off of a penetration move. Throughout summer league, Nader’s aggressiveness in driving to the basket has been on full display. While it can garner the occasional offensive foul as it did on one instance against Dallas, this tendency has exhibited Nader’s willingness to adapt his personal game to the fast-paced style of the NBA.
The 6’6″, 221-pounder refuses to simply mold his penetrations based on what lanes the defense wishes to give him. Throughout summer league, he has utilized a variety of dribble moves and an inside touch to direct himself to desirable spots on the floor, scoring the rock with aggression and losing all sense of passiveness. Even after Dallas shooting guard Justin Anderson rejected his alley-oop finish attempt in the final quarter of Tuesday’s tilt, Nader continued his attacking style, a trait which will serve him well as he chases playing time on an NBA roster.
Further serving his offensive game is his ability to knock down the outside shot. While he did not prove himself to be the most consistent three-point marksman while with the Cyclones, Nader was able to improve his three-point percentage from a lowly 21.7 percent in 2014-15 to a commendable 37.1 percent in 2015-16. He emerged as a spot-up shooting threat off of drives from Iowa State teammates Marcus Morris and Georges Niang last season with his uptick in outside efficiency, something he worked on strenuously to implement into his game last offseason.
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Now, with showings such as his 2-of-2 performance from outside the arc against Dallas, Nader is stating the claim that he can translate that three-point stroke to the pro game. If he can continue to increase this three-point reliability while maintaining the hustle that has brought him much applause from the Celtics faithful, it could work wonders for him.
While the number of blocks and steals on his stat sheet this week is not eye-popping, Nader did manage to garner six rebounds in a bench-high 21 minutes in Boston’s 87-74 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. However, it has been Nader’s effectiveness outside of the box score that underlines his true value.
He accounted for a +10 rating in the plus-minus department against Dallas, a figure predicated not only by his offensive efficiency but by his willingness to box out on the defensive glass, move his feet and avoid unnecessary fouling on defense, dive for loose balls and free teammates up on offense with screens. While his efforts may be inflated by the fact that the majority of his minutes have come against those stocked as reserves on Las Vegas Summer League rosters, his basketball IQ is deserving of some recognition.
Nader’s mind-boggling PER of 28.8 ranks 16th among all Summer League players, above top-two picks Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram and tied with that of Suns shooting guard Devin Booker. His camp has iterated that he has not agreed to be stationed in the D-League following summer league, a smart decision for someone who should be able to compete for a roster spot come training camp.