The OKC Thunder are counting on internal growth to compete in the playoffs at the end of this current season. Today we focus on what Abdel Nader needs to improve on for the rest of the season.
Abdel Nader has had a roller coaster season for the OKC Thunder. He was unable to crack the rotation early on, Nader had a 23 point and a 19 point game, reminding us what he can do. This was just after I suggested he spend some time in the G-League to regain his confidence.
Nader was then called up into the starting lineup three games later thanks to injury issues. Like the rest of the OKC Thunder squad, Nader performed his role well, helping the team to go 3-2 over this time.
Nader stepped back to a bench role and continued to give good minutes when the team needed him before he was pushed further down the rotation thanks to Hamidou Diallo returning. Then Nader hurt his ankle, adding to the injury drama of the Thunder.
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Nader returned to the lineup at the end of January and the team went on a major winning streak. He is shooting the ball at 33.3 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from deep. He has struggled to get regular minutes since his return but that will change again. This brings us to what Nader needs to improve on for the rest of the season.
Passing the ball
The biggest criticism I have of Nader is his single-minded determination to get the ball in the hoop. This can be a good quality, it can make you hard to stop. However, defenses have started picking up on the fact that Nader barely passes.
He is averaging only 0.7 assists per game, which is above his career average of 0.5 per game. However, despite this slight rise, Nader does not look for the best option on offense, he is too focused on scoring.
Transition defenses are able to contain Nader effectively as they know he is going to try and score. If he was to find the better shot, his defender would be in two minds, potentially leading to an easier bucket.
The OKC Thunder offense is based on ball movement, The team started winning when the chemistry between the players gelled to the point where everyone including Dennis Schroder, started finding the best shot on offense rather than just their own shot.
When Nader starts playing more with this mentality he should get greater playing time. If he can do this the third best 3-point shooter on the Thunder roster will get more playing time