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Austin Ainge: Yam Madar “improved in every area Boston wanted him to this season”

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The 2020 second round pick spent last season in the Israeli Premier League.

Romania v Israel - EuroBasket 2022 Qualifier Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

With the NBA Draft and Summer League just around the corner, it’s “pump up your prospects” season in Boston. Earlier today, Celtics Director of Player Personnel Austin Ainge spoke glowingly of last year’s second round draft pick, Yam Madar.

Madar spent last year competing in his home country of Israel, where he posted numbers similar to what lead fellow Israeli Deni Avdija getting drafted 9th overall by the Washington Wizards.

For reference, here’s Avdija’s season averages from the 2019-20 season in the Israeli Super League.

Deni Avdija 2019-20 Stats
Deni Avdija 2019-20 Stats
basket.co.il

And here’s Yam Madar’s stats from this past season in the same league.

Yam Madar’s 2020-21 Stats
Yam Madar’s 2020-21 Stats
basketball-reference

Granted, looking at just a one season sample size doesn’t paint the fullest of pictures. We’re not privy to the level of team strength each player was surrounded by, or their usage rate within the offense. But what we can see is that against a similar level of competition, Madar equalled a similar level of production to that of Avdija, who coped admirably during his rookie NBA season.

With numbers like the ones above, it’s no wonder the Celtics have brought Madar stateside to compete in this year’s Summer League, where the team will no doubt be assessing his performance against higher level talent.

Unlike most draft-and-stash prospects, Madar could find himself with a clear path to a roster spot this season. A 6-foot-2 guard who can shoot from anywhere on the floor, facilitate an offense, and chip in with the occasional rebound, the Tel-Aviv product could slide straight into the third guard spot on the roster - assuming Pritchard steps up to the primary back-up guard role.

Since arriving in the United States, Madar has been working out with Semi Ojeleye’s strength trainer, as he prepares his body for the physicality of the NBA.

Should Madar live up to his billing as the “European Steph Curry” and light up the Summer League, we could be seeing a lot more of him this season, either in Maine or as part of the 15-man rotation. However, as Austin Ainge noted during today’s press conference, ”it remains to be seen (If the Celtics will stash Madar for another season, or stash this year’s pick,). It’s always an option.”

With Summer League less than two weeks away, we won’t have to wait long to see Madar in action. But until then, here’s some of his recent highlights.