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2020 NBA Draft scouting report: Yam Madar

A prospect whose defense will certainly turn heads, but what about the rest?

Charlotte Hornets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

In advance of the 2020 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops is evaluating prospects with a look at what the Atlanta Hawks might be considering from now until the selection process occurs. Dozens of prospects will profiled in this space and, in this edition, we evaluate Israeli guard Yam Madar.

Having turned 19 years old in late December, Israeli guard Yam Madar is one of the younger prospects to potentially be available heading into this year’s NBA Draft.

Madar’s 2019-20 season comes on the heels of what was a big summer for the 19 year old.

Madar was a key contributor during Israel’s U-20, ultimately successful, showing at the FIBA European Championship in 2019 (beating Spain in the final), starring alongside one of the draft’s top prospects in Deni Avidja (who won the tournament’s MVP award. Madar scored 17 points in the final and was named as part of the tournament’s ‘All-Star Five.’

Domestically, Madar plays for Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv, and while they didn’t feature in the EuroLeague this season — like compatriots Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv did — they are still one of the more reputable sides in a competitive Israeli league, even if this season hasn’t gone to plan.

For the season, Madar averaged 8 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the field on 6.5 attempts per game, 28.9% from behind the arc on 2.1 attempts per game, 77.8% from free throw line on two attempts per game — if you’re curious for the advanced shooting numbers: 53.6% true shooting an 48.5 effective field goal percentage — 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.6 turnovers and 0.9 steals per game, mostly coming off of the bench in 21 games played this season, per RealGM.

Madar is listed as a point guard but I wouldn’t feel comfortable categorizing Madar purely as a point guard — I think it’s just simpler to categorize Madar as just a guard that. At 6-2, his size isn’t the most ideal for, what I believe is, a combo-guard but I think he can make it work for himself, certainly defensively.

With that said, it’s time to talk about Madar’s on-court game and delve into the film. Now, before we get started, some disclaimers from myself are necessary.

I am not an expert nor have I watched all 21 of Madar’s games this season, I will not claim that — this is just what I saw, what I felt and an attempt to amass that together.

For your sanity (because Hapoel Tel Aviv’s numbers are stupidly hard to read from afar), Madar wears number 11 and rocks a tight haircut (which makes him far more distinguishable than his jersey number, especially in the white uniform). Oh, and shoutout to the camera quality, which is worse on the wide shot than the cameras used for close-ups (which look pretty good). Always appreciated.

The one thing that stood out far and away beyond the rest of Madar’s game was his intensity on defense — I wouldn’t use the word ‘relentless’ but he’s pretty close.

In the NBA, players don’t like it when players pick up full-court — it just makes life a pain in the ass for players. Madar makes life a pain in the ass for offensive players.

Off of the made basket, Madar extends the pressure on the ball-handler, making life uncomfortable and eventually has to pass:

On this possession, Madar picks up full-court, harasses the offensive player, forces him to pick up his dribble, but not only that, Madar gives multiple efforts on this one defensive possession, even if the bucket was ultimately made in the end:

Here, Madar — after a missed free throw — extends the pressure to the offensive player, moves his feet well as the ball is advanced, forces a pass after it becomes clear progress will not be made, switches onto the receiver of the pass and, again, causes disruption and knocks the ball out of bounds:

Against old friend Tyler Dorsey, Madar extends the pressure and with how well Madar moves, the offensive player isn’t able to progress very far in the half-court, meaning he needs to pass and from there Hapoel manage to create a little bit of havoc defensively, knocking the ball loose for Maccabi recover possession:

Faced with fellow compatriot Deni Avidja, Madar makes life difficult, harassing him as he progresses up the court, eventually forcing Avidja to pick up his dribble and lay the ball off to a teammate:

You get the general idea: Madar will press very often and it disrupts the offense of the opposing team.

Sometimes, it works against him, and he’s left trailing the play but these seemed to happen few and far between (and he did make an attempt to contest too):

When the opposing team tries to hit Madar with screens to try — in an attempt to free the ball-handler of him — Madar will fight to try get through/around them and back to his man.

Starting off of the ball, Madar gets through the down-screen and ensures his man isn’t open to receive the ball and a potentially open shot:

Here, Madar does well to get around multiple screens to stick with his man and returns to the three-point line after getting around the second body and prevents an open look at a three:

Coming off of an out-of-bounds play, Madar has to go around the screen after taking the hit but gets back in front of his man, forcing the pass and then tries to reach in as a help defender before the shot is missed:

One thing you can definitely say about Madar is that he’s not scared, he’s not scared to take the hit of the screen, to take the contact. On this possession, he takes multiple hits but isn’t slowed massively and still hustles to get back to his man:

On this play, Madar picks his man up at half-court, restricts the progress of the ball-handler and when the screen comes — despite it being an illegal screen (which was called) — Madar gets through it and was ready to get back in front to continue the defensive possession:

Of course, he doesn’t get over/through every screen, and sometimes he can’t recover, such as this play where the ball-handler needs a screen to free him up and Madar gets a good hit on the screen, but shows his versatility to switch (you also get a little insight for the zone defense Hapeol Tel Aviv play, and they play a lot of it):

Madar just excels at staying in front of his man, and there’s so much to be said for a team’s defense for the point guard being able to stay in front of his man. It changes so much for your defense.

On this play, Madar stays in front of his man and forces a three-point attempt which he contests:

On this possession, Madar faces off with his opponent at half-court, loses a bit of ground on the drive and has to take the long way to get back in front of his man but eventually does so, and forces the pass:

Things get a little murkier when it comes to team/help/secondary defending.

Hapoel Tel Aviv played a lot of zone defensively and this certainly put Madar in a position to succeed but there were times where it obviously led to him being punished from the outside, such as here as he gets sucked in:

Generally speaking though, Madar was a positive force in terms of help/secondary defense.

Here, while Madar is driven past — into traffic, mind you — he makes the second effort to rotate to the next man, and manages to get to the corner to prevent the open three before contesting the eventual shot:

I wish Madar would contest shots better (I don’t know his wingspan measurements but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were lacking), because this isn’t the most effective contest, but the effort to rotate over and prevent an open shot is what I wanted to focus on here.

On this play, after the primary defender is overtaken by the ball-handler, Madar races in to get a hand on the ball and knock it out of play:

As Hapoel double on the post, Madar rotates to the man underneath the rim and knocks the intended pass away from what would’ve been a certain two points:

Physically, I have some concerns about Yam Madar.

At 6-2, he’s obviously not the tallest guard in the world, and that always creates problems in the NBA but, to be fair, that matters a little more offensively than perhaps defensively. Length wise, again, his wingspan is unknown at this juncture. I also wouldn’t call Madar especially athletic.

He has pace and good footwork, but I wouldn’t call him an exceptional above-the-rim athlete. This can lead to some problems when rebounding the ball. Madar occasionally mixes it up on the glass but can find himself a little overwhelmed at times.

Let’s move on from the defense, and things, sadly, aren’t as positive from here on out.

In assessing his offensive, Mader is averaging 8 points per game on 43.8% from the field on 6.5 attempts per game — nothing too wild or unusual from a backup guard. 28.9% on threes on 2.1 attempts per game isn’t ideal, but it’s also not a ton of attempts either.

We’ll start with the some of the better stuff, however, and that’s Madar’s ability with the ball and on the move.

Madar has an OK runner/floater to him, which is especially useful when having to face zone defenses as he often does in Israel.

Here, Madar receives the ball at the three-point line, drives into the space, fakes the pass to the corner and rises into the runner, which he sticks:

As the clock winds down on this possession, Madar receives the ball after the double on the block and he drives from the three-point line and hits the runner:

Generally speaking, within the three-point line, Madar doesn’t fare too badly.

On this play, Madar drives inside, spins and hits the free throw line jumper, plus the foul:

On this possession, Madar is fortunate to be in place as the ball rebounds into his lap but Madar rises and drills a clutch jump shot to give his side the lead with under two minutes to go:

After a miss, the ball is worked around and it ends up in the hands of Madar, who drills the slightly hesitated and contested baseline jumper:

After the dribble hand-off, Madar drives into the paint, is forced to stop, turns and hits the contested jumpshot:

Not a very good shot, but he made it nonetheless.

It was half-highlighted in that last clip, but Madar doesn’t really excel at driving past his man and collapsing the defense, and perhaps nothing highlighted that more when he wasn’t able to shed Amar’e Stoudemire on a switch:

Granted, the Maccabi Fox defense prevented Madar from making the best of that opportunity but anyone with any decent athletic abilities should be able to whizz by Amar’e by now.

On another switch, Madar, again, has issues getting by. Granted, there’s a help defender ready at the rim should Madar win, but at no point is that defender any way worried about Madar’s drive. Madar is forced to stop and his attempts get out of the situation are compounded by a turnover:

On this play to start the fourth quarter, twice, Madar can’t break through the Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv line, forced to pass and Hapoel Tel Aviv come up empty on the offensive possession:

That’s concerning. I know the zone aspects of the defense don’t help for penetration — especially when the defender in front doesn’t have to back-pedal so much with another man sat right behind him to fall back on, ready — and I know Maccabi Fox are one of Europe’s better teams but the fact Madar can’t get to the rim on a consistent or even somewhat regular basis is concerning, at least in the half-court.

In transition/the open court, Madar does fare a little better.

But this isn’t saying a ton, because the one thing nearly every single prospect — raw or otherwise — can do is run in transition, can receive a pass in transition and then finish in transition. This is not hard.

There’s more when it comes to Madar offensively, and it’s not good.

Madar, at times, gets a little sucked in and sometimes this leads to poor decision making, specifically with his shooting.

Here, Madar takes the ball up the court and the possession ends up with no one else other than Madar touching the ball and eventually ends up turning the ball over:

Granted, there was a lot of standing around on offense here but this is still not ideal.

A similar story here on this play, where Madar the ball up the floor and, again, not a lot else happens to get it to a teammate, even though Madar gets a good look at a three-pointer, which is long:

Speaking of three-pointers... they’re not a strong aspect of Madar’s game.

A lot of them were just too long — Madar just doesn’t have that part of his game refined yet.

Some of them do look pretty decent, such as this one:

But generally speaking, 28.9% from three does sound correct after evaluating him.

The effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage numbers (48.5 eFG%, 53.6 TS%) I think tell a fair story of a player who just doesn’t thread the needle a ton on offense.

Finally, let’s move on to playmaking, since Madar is technically a backup point guard for Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Madar averaged three assists per game on 1.6 turnovers per contest, and there’s not a ton to say really because Madar’s playmaking is not massively advanced — he’s not going to beat the world.

On this play for instance, Madar tries to get to the rim but (as we know from before) he has trouble achieving this. When Madar is forced to pass, the offense tries to set up again and Madar recieves the ball and makes the simple pass to a teammate for a three-point attempt:

Nothing wild here, Madar orchestrates the play, makes the pass and the three-pointer is hit:

Nothing huge on a number of assists/set-ups from Madar but he can sprinkle in some flavour.

Here, Madar picks up the loose ball and executes a nice, on the move, chest-pass, leading to a three-point attempt:

On the out-of-bounds play, Madar receives the ball and delivers a pass behind his back — with his weak hand — for the assist the rim:

That was a risky pass, but Madar completed it on this occasion, and he got another lucky break as his risky drop pass in the paint is collected by a teammate, who scores the bucket:

Here was an assist I really enjoyed, as Madar stops on a dime and delivers a nice, direct pass to a teammate, who finishes at the rim:

When it comes to pick-and-roll, Hapoel Tel Aviv could certainly stand to run a little more of it because it really didn’t seem that they ran a ton, but Madar did run some and he ran it well enough. It’s fine.

Here, Madar operates the pick-and-roll, sees an extra body, swivels and drops a pass to his teammate, who hits the shot as the defense shifts around:

On this play, Madar operates the pick-and-roll, draws the defense as the ball-handler, the roll-man draws the extra defender and Madar finds his teammate behind the arc for a three-pointer:

Here, Madar comes off of the screen, gets near the paint and again kicks it behind to a shooter for a three-point attempt:

Working more so with the roll-man on this instance, Madar finds his teammate for a three-point attempt in the corner:

It would certainly help Madar’s averages if teammates could hit shots and they don’t run a ton of pick-and-roll going toward the rim. Zone defenses don’t help those opportunities. Honestly, the offense that Hapoel Tel Aviv run is pretty tragic — it ends up in many three-point attempts that are not great, not a lot of looks at the rim, not a ton of pick-and-roll heading to the rim. They try create with penetration but they struggle to actually get by, and things stall.

So, in some ways, I’m willing to give Madar somewhat of a pass on offense because he’s not really in a system that allows him to really succeed offensively.

Let’s try land this thing.

Yam Madar is an interesting prospect.

Defensively, I love what he brings and there’s really not a lot to not love there. I think he’s going to succeed in his career defensively, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes a top-tier defender in Europe for a EuroLeague team. I love the intensity and the pressure he creates in full-court situations — it really makes the defense uncomfortable. There’s a few question marks as to what the zone defense opens up for his ability as a help/secondary defender, but as a one-on-one defender, Madar excels with Hapoel Tel Aviv, especially at age 19.

Obviously since this is a NBA draft scouting report, you have to obviously ask the question: would this defense translate to the NBA? Could he excel defensively there? I think perhaps he could, yes. But defense is not the issue when it comes to Madar — it’s everything else.

The NBA, as we know, prioritizes offense. There’s a job for only a select few that can’t provide offense but provide stout defense, especially when it comes to guards. There are far many more job for guards who can excel offensively who don’t add defense than the reverse.

This puts Madar in a difficult position.

He’s not a good three-point shooter right now, and that’s at least a small problem. He struggles to create for himself off of the dribble, which is also a problem. He struggles to do anything, really, at a high level offensively right now, nothing really stands out. These are all big problems.

From a playmaking point of view, Madar can make some plays but they’re fairly basic, it’s nothing spectacular. He’s not helped by having to run what looks like a pretty poor offensive system that generates plenty average/below average three-point looks that aren’t made and not a ton going toward the rim in terms of pick-and-roll, so I’m willing to give him somewhat of a pass.

Other issues include athleticism — Madar is not necessarily unathletic, but he’s not jumping out of the gym either. He does have some pace on his side, but struggles to utilize this (again, there are some factors that don’t help him when it comes to this).

But the one thing Madar does have going for him is that he is young — turning 20 in December. He also already has a solid role in a league that is pretty competitive and in a professional league, and there’s always something to be said for that. For 19 years old, his foundation is solid.

Is it enough for the NBA? I’m not sure...