Celtics

Celtics rookie Yam Madar expects to play in NBA this season

Madar was the Israeli Premier League's Most Improved Player last season.

Celtics Yam Madar
Celtics rookie Yam Madar expects to play in the NBA this year. Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Celtics rookie Yam Madar doesn’t plan to spend another year overseas.

Madar, the Most Improved Player in the Israeli Premier League last season, was a second-round draft-and-stash selection for the Celtics in the 2020 draft. He arrived in Boston recently prior to the Las Vegas Summer League, and following a practice on Tuesday, Madar expressed enthusiasm for his initial experience with his new team.

“It’s a new challenge,” Madar said. “I worked really hard, I prepared myself for this moment to come. I know it’s going to be this year that I come, and I’m excited to get started.”

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A reporter followed up on Madar’s plans for next season.

“Yeah, I’m planning to come and play for the Celtics this coming up year,” Madar clarified.

Getting Madar to Boston won’t be simple. The 20-year-old lost his arbitration case to join the Celtics this year, so acquiring him will require a buyout. But the Celtics are yet to add point-guard depth beyond Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard, so Madar might be an intriguing addition.

Madar said he grew significantly as a player last season.

“The season was great for me,” he said. “I think I grew a lot in my ability. I improved a lot of things in the offensive and defensive side. I understand the game much more than I had in the past season. I just need to build it year by year, because when you’re here, you just want to go from the start.”

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One crucial area of improvement for Madar was his 3-point percentage. A mediocre shooter from deep in his first season with Tel-Aviv, Madar hit 40.9 percent from deep on 4.4 attempts per game, as well as 82.8 percent of his free-throws — often a good predictor of shooting success.

Now Madar is trying to add muscle.

“You put that work in, and knowing that your goals are bigger than the place you’re playing at, it’s the day-to-day work,” Madar said. “Being in the gym, putting that work in, at the end it pays off.”

Madar’s frame stood out to his teammates in the early going.

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“He has long arms and quick hands,” Pritchard said. “He definitely has potential to become something.”

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