Yam Madar is an up-and-coming prospect from Israel that is grabbing the attention of scouts and front offices around the NBA. The Israeli guard was born on December 21st of 2000, in Beit Dagan. He started playing at Maccabi Beit Dagan before moving to Hapoel Tel Aviv, where he started to turn heads and show his potential. Madar was a big contributor to Israel’s 2019 victory in the U20 European Championship, making the All-Tournament Team alongside MVP and potential 2020 lottery pick Deni Avdija. Madar averaged 15.9 points on 51.8 FG%, 1.4 steals, and a tournament-best 7.7 assists.
Hapoel Tel Aviv (2018-)
It didn’t take long for Madar to become a regular on the senior team in 2018-2019, debuting in a FIBA Champions League qualifying game against Spirou Charleroi. He ended up playing 34 games that season. Madar became more of a key piece for Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2019-2020 following his U20 performance. He started 17 of 32 games he played in the Israeli League, averaging 10.1 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 24.4 minutes. Madar became the youngest player ever to be named the most improved player of the Israeli league.
What would happen if you gave an already electric guy, 5 cups of coffee? You’d probably get the less energetic version of Yam Madar. With good height (some sources say 6’2”, others 6’3”) for a point guard but a skinny build, Madar relies on his energy as his main source of production. He has quick feet on defense and can guard players full court. Yam can also make some really athletic plays, with good timing on his jumps and good hands on defense. He’s not particularly explosive, but quick enough. His lack of strength is a problem when getting to the rim.
Madar’s shooting technique has been improving, as well as his efficiency, but he is still pretty inconsistent with his jump shot. Madar has good mechanics, although a bit slow on the catch and release, which can affect him in the NBA. He shoots while still going up and his right hip turn on most shots is potentially his major problem, making the ball go in different directions and creating that inconsistency. His change on the release when pressured, with a flatter shot, doesn’t help either.
Last season, Madar was just a 26.7% on 2.7 3-point field goal attempts, which shows his inability to consistently making shots. His outside shot numbers grew this season, but just in a 3 game sample.
Pick and Roll Offense
This is what makes Madar such an intriguing prospect. His court vision and awareness, the ability to throw pocket passes or one-handed bullets to the other side of the floor is special and the biggest plus in his offensive game. Even with his usual style of play, where he always appears to be in a rush, he can stay calm and patient when playing the PnR, reading defenses, and finding the open man. Madar needs to become a bit more aggressive looking for his shot because right now he’s more of a passer when the screen comes, but there is much to like about his pick and roll play.
Although still very (and I mean very) raw, Madar shows some flashes of a shot creator. He uses some changes of speed and body fakes to get past defenders but shows difficulties creating separation off his dribble alone, mainly because of some problems with his handle. His handling is a bit loose and careless, forcing him to take bad shots at times. He gets some good looks when he gets a good grip on the ball, keeping his balance to get his shot off or getting to the rim easily, but that still doesn’t happen often. When at the rim, there are good signs of improvement with his finishing, especially on one-handed layups/floaters, but his lack of upper-body strength and thin frame don’t help.
Yam Madar will always try to push the tempo of the game and get out in transition. As a pass-first guard, Madar is not someone that will usually go coast to coast, but will give the ball to a player in front of him. It is also good to be a trailer in a fastbreak commanded by Madar, as he will almost find his teammate.
You know that annoying colleague in the office? You know the type: always gets too close to your face when talking, talks non-stop about nothing and is always happy at 8 in the morning? Yeah, Yam Madar is that guy, but on a basketball court. He will follow his man around, never leaving his side. Madar puts pressure as soon as he sees the offensive player with the ball, aggressively stalking him full court. That aggressiveness and energy he brings help cut time off the shot clock from the offense and annoys guards, especially NBA guards. That can also come back to bite him, as he sometimes gets beaten by quicker and more skilled guards. But that doesn’t stop him, and with his quick feet and quick hands, he’ll always put pressure on the ball-handler and create errors.
Off the ball, Madar is more quiet but can make some impressive plays. He’s always in a helping position and even if his size and frame don’t help him against stronger players, his athleticism makes up for it.
Yam Madar is a recent arrival to NBA team’s radars, as he cruised undetected most of his teenage years, until that U20 European Championship in 2019. His energy and almost playground style of game is a breath of fresh air. He will make life miserable for so many guards on defense and throw some of the best passes you’ve seen on offense.
There is a lot to improve in Yam’s game, but that’s something he’s been capable to do and will continue to, given is demeanor. Most NBA teams will definitely take a look at him in the second round of the draft, mainly for a “spark off the bench” type of guy. His ability to stick around will depend mostly on his evolution as a shooter and as a creator, two things that could catapult him to the next level in his game. But those are big “ifs”, given that there’s quite a long way for him to reach that.
Overall, Yam will give his team much needed aggressiveness, night in and night out, and another ball-handler to navigate pick and rolls and give his team some quick and easy points. He can also benefit from the quick style of game in the NBA and develop into a really good player, given the needed time and space to grow.