Thunder swingman Abdel Nader capitalized on his opportunity and earned rotation minutes during the 2018-19 season. Having a taste of being a significant contributor, Nader is using his offseason preparations to make an even bigger impact next season.

by Nick Gallo and Jimmy Do

Nick Gallo: What's your normal day like in the summer?

Abdel Nader: I usually wake up around 7 a.m. My dog wakes me up and licks my face. I take him on a little jog and get my body going for a nice, long walk. Then, I come to the gym at 8:15 and get a good breakfast. Start training at 9. Usually, I start in the weight room or sometimes I start on the court depending on what I want to achieve that day or my goal is for that day. Start with a light little warmup. My lifts this week have been two-hour lifts every day. We were outside in the sand, using the pool doing movement stuff, then come in the weight room building strength, then doing some ladder stuff at the end with a little more agility. Then I go on the court, and now I switch my whole mindset to skill work and developing and imagining how I'm going to translate the stuff that I'm working on with the coaching staff to an actual game in live play.

NG: What kind of dog do you have?

Nader: Rhodesian Ridgeback. His name is Cade.

NG: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Nader: I had an egg white omelette with asparagus and broccoli.

NG: It's not pancakes or bacon.

Nader: It's not a fun breakfast. No grains (laughs).

NG: So when you're out in the sandpit and in the pool, what workouts are you doing?

Nader: We'll do one-legged balances to pushing off one leg and slides trying to build quickness and twitch muscles doing straight jumps vertically, running, running up the hill and running in the pool. Things that will translate on the court. You'll notice the effects and the increase in strength and speed.

NG: What do you do in the weight room?

Nader: We're really focused on strengthening my hamstrings and my glutes to help me move better. Deceleration is a big thing for me. I'm great building speed but not slowing down.

NG: Do the people here determine that or is that something you feel?

Nader: It's something I feel. Over a period of time discussing with my team and the team here, you learn these things. You watch film and figure them out.

NG: I've never heard anybody trying to figure out their deceleration.

Nader: I'm really detailed in everything I do. I want to be as good as I can. I didn't really get to work last summer because I had a broken arm. So, I'm trying to take advantage and make the most of my opportunities next year.

NG: Does your body feel weird going from the weight room to the court?

Nader: You get used to it after you do it enough times. Maybe the first five minutes you're like flabby, but you'll shoot your way out of it.

NG: I remember last year seeing you do so many of those ball-handling techniques like the one dribble, two steps, finish at the rim. What other kinds of things are you working on this summer?

Nader: Right now, it's all about expanding my game as much as possible. This point in the summer, there's no defined roles. I'm not just worried about catching and shooting and attacking closeouts like how my role was last year. I'm trying to expand my game more so if I do get the opportunity outside of that, I'll be prepared.

NG: Any drills you're doing that are your favorite to do or more challenging than others?

Nader: All this week we've just been working on step-backs and that's so much fun for me. I think it's a blast. It's not even any work at all. It's taxing, but it's fun. It's like you're at the park by yourself and just working on your game.

NG: After you're done with your on-court stuff, what do you do after that?

Nader: I head home usually and walk my dog again. Take a nap for a little bit. Hang out and then usually about 7 o'clock, I'll head over to the Blue (ION Edmond) and start shooting there.

NG: What do you eat in between those two workouts?

Nader: We have some wonderful chefs in there. They're great. Some quinoa, grilled chicken, spinach, broccoli and asparagus with no salt, no sauce, no nothing.

NG: Do you cheat a little bit on the weekends?

Nader: You know, I've been really strict. Usually, I have two cheat days where I can have whatever I want. This past month, I've been really strict and just trying to get back into it full go.

NG: You gotta be disciplined for that.

Nader: It's so hard! Every time I walk into the gas station, I see Hot Cheetos, my mouth starts to salivate. It's so hard!

NG: So when you're home, you chill out at night because you got a big day coming up, what are you doing?

Nader: I'll watch Game of Thrones if it's on for sure even though the last episode kind of disappointed me (laughs).


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