The Maine Red Claws and Canton Charge were locked in a tie Thursday. With 22 seconds remaining, Red Claws rookie forward Abdel Nader ran his man into a pick, freeing himself behind the arc. He caught the inbounds pass and pulled up for a game-winning three. Swish.
“It’s a blessing,” Nader said following the win. “I’ve worked to get here… I think my offensive game is NBA-ready.”
Nader’s scoring ability was on full display as he recorded 29 points in his first NBA D-League Showcase game, hitting six threes in the process. He also tallied seven assists and five rebounds
“He’s really impressed me with his ability to be a creator for others,” said Red Claws head coach Scott Morrison. “I think as long as he keeps progressing, he can be a real triple-double threat in this league, and then, hopefully, that will give him the opportunity to make the Celtics’ roster next year.”
The Celtics are hoping that Nader continues to improve as well. They drafted the Iowa State product with the 59th overall pick in June’s NBA Draft. The 6-8 forward hasn’t disappointed, averaging 22.3 points, 6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game through 23 contests.
Nader acknowledges that he needs to improve his defense but is optimistic about making it to the NBA next season.
“The way we talked about it was just basically use this year to get better and good things will happen next year. And I think that I’ve been executing my side,” Nader said.
If Nader does play for the Celtics next season, he will become just the second NBA player of Egyptian nationality. Nader’s family moved to the United States when he was four years old but he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
“It means a lot to me. It’s my heritage,” he said. “My family moving over here from Egypt… [it] was for a better life, and basketball has helped me to do that.”