Yam Madar Eager to Prove He’s Ready for the NBA
Yam Madar seemed more like Yam Gladar Tuesday afternoon following his first Summer League practice with the Boston Celtics, as the 20-year-old guard was all smiles during his first press conference with the Boston media since being drafted by the organization eight-and-a-half months prior.
And he should be glad, because the next month will provide an opportunity for him to prove that he’s capable of taking the next step in his career by making it to the NBA.
Madar has been working his tail off overseas since the day Boston drafted him with the 47th overall pick last November. This past season, he became the youngest player in the history of the Israeli Premier League to win Most improved player after averaging 17.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game for Hapoel Tel Aviv, and he’s only getting better.
“The season was great for me,” Madar said looking back on his time playing in his home country of Israel. “I think I grew a lot in my ability. I improved a lot of things on the offensive and defensive side. I understand the game much more than I had in the past season.”
Now, he’ll get to see if those improvements will translate to the highest level, as he is set to play alongside and against some of the NBA’s younger players and other hopefuls such as himself over the next few weeks.
Boston’s first Summer League game will be played against the Atlanta Hawks Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas. Leading up to Game 1, the C’s will have four days to practice, the first of which went quite well in Madar’s eyes.
“It was great,” Madar said post-practice at the Auerbach Center. “I waited for this moment to come. Meeting everybody – right now it’s not everybody, but it’s the guys from Summer League, and it’s the first step that we need to do to start building … I’m just trying to do my best every day, come here to work, get better, just to prepare myself for the challenges that will come.”
If that’s his goal, then Madar should consider Day 1 a success since he has already made a solid impression upon his teammates early on. Second-year point guard Payton Pritchard, for one, sees promise in the young guard’s makeup, noting how Yam “has long arms and quick hands, so he definitely has potential to become something.”
Training with a player of Pritchard’s caliber is something Madar is looking forward to, as he believes it should help expedite his development even more throughout the summer.
“Going against each other, I think we’ll gain a lot during the year,” Madar said. “And where we’re at right now, we just get better each and every day playing against each other, trying to compete with everybody. And it’s not just him, it’s the team, it’s everybody. We’ve got some great players here, we’re very talented. I just want to come and compete and play at the highest level.”
Madar has a lot to offer as a floor general who can pass, play-make, handle the ball, and score from all areas of the court. In the eyes of Celtics assistant general manager Austin Ainge, “He improved on all the things we asked him to improve on” this past year.
Now it’s time for Madar to prove it, and he seems confident that he can do so.
“I feel comfortable in my game,” he said. “It’s a new level, it’s a new challenge. I worked really hard, I prepared myself for this moment to come.”