Reader Grade: C (56% of votes)
Never the most agile or graceful defender, he’s held up on that end within the team’s defensive scheme. He has a positive DRPM and D-PIPM, and a knack for surprising with disruptive plays on defense. He’s just a hair less one-dimensional on offense than he was before, but his shooting percentages have risen across the board (53%/37%/77%) as his minutes have increased. While he’s not a boon to the team’s offense, his decisiveness (shoot, or shoot, or dribble and shoot) is something that many Thunder role players have lacked for more dismal second units.
Whether it’s with the Thunder or not, Nader has virtually guaranteed that he’ll secure an NBA contract during his upcoming unrestricted free agency, which wasn’t a given heading into this year. Logan Meyer recently wrote about what has been a quiet but career-best season for the forward:
“By the last game the Thunder had played, at Boston on March 8th, he had solidified his spot in the rotation as a reliable, key guy off the bench. When Hamidou Diallo and Terrance Ferguson missed time due to injuries and personal reasons, Nader, (along with Lu Dort) stepped up and clinched their spots in the rotation.
So much of the time in the NBA, success comes down to a player being ready–at a moment’s notice–to perform and help the team, even if he is cold off the bench. Nader was ready when his name was called, and has earned the trust of his teammates and Billy Donovan…He has gone from a fringe bench guy to a reliable rotation player this season, having produced in some key moments as well.”