Earlier today, the NBA’s trade deadline came to an eventful conclusion as more than twenty players changed teams in just a single day. Although this day represents an end to months of trade rumors, the fun surrounding the Association doesn’t stop as veterans will have their contracts get bought out and will be able to sign with a playoff-caliber NBA team.
In addition to the focus on players with NBA experience, the end of the trade deadline represents a period where teams are more willing to look towards the G League to fill out their rosters. An example of that was seen last year as there were 29 call-ups during the period after the trade deadline, compared to 26 during the prior three months. That quantity of G Leaguers getting a chance in the NBA after the deadline makes the period that we just entered extremely special for both fans and the players.
While the amount of guys currently in the G League that would be worthy of a call-up, there’s one player that might be getting overlooked. That man is 6’3 guard Abdul Gaddy, who is currently in the middle of his seventh pro season. Despite that veteran status, the 28-year-old might be the best basketball of his career. That claim is backed by well he’s played in recent weeks.
Over OKC’s last 15 games, the veteran guard has impressed by averaging 13.4 points, 9.6 assists, and 3.2 rebounds on 48% from the field and 52% from beyond the arc on 2.8 attempts per game, Those great numbers become even more impressive when you combine it with him maintaining a 63% True Shooting Percentage and 3.3 Ast/TO ratio during that period. Utah Jazz guard Nigel Williams-Goss and Minnesota Timberwolves two-way prospect Jordan McLaughlin are the only guards besides Gaddy to maintain a 62% True Shooting Percentage and 3.0 Ast/TO ratio.
That unique mix of tremendous shooting and passing efficiency has allowed the veteran guard to be a vital part of the OKC Blue. Although the team currently stands at 15-18, which has them out of the playoffs, that shouldn’t be blamed on the veteran guard. In fact, the team is significantly better on both ends of the court when the 6’3 guard is playing.
On offense, the Blue are almost nine points better per 100 possessions on the court (98.3 points per 100) compared to when he’s on the bench (89.6 points per 100). Moving towards defense, opposing teams are more than three points per 100 worse when he’s playing (103.8 points per 100) compared to when Gaddy is sitting (107.1 points per 100).
Although Gaddy’s impact on the team is clearly efficient from both base and advanced statistics, you have to watch him play to truly appreciate his game. From an offensive perspective, the veteran is incredibly smooth whether he’s working as a facilitator or perimeter weapon.
As a distributor, he exudes this confidence where you can sense that he knows where his four teammates are or where they’re going to be and what he has to do to put them in the best position to get an open look. An example of that is seen in the clip below from a January game against the Santa Cruz Warriors. After using a crossover to get a jump on his perimeter defender, he uses a drive to the paint to capture the attention of three Santa Cruz players. Recognizing that his work led to Devon Hall getting open on the left corner, Gaddy throws a precise chest pass that lands in the chest of his teammate.
Moving onto his work as a scorer, perimeter shooting and on-ball driving have been the biggest ways that he’s been able to help OKC on the offensive end. As a perimeter weapon, the veteran guard has been fantastic during his three years in the G League where he’s shot 44% on a total of 291 career attempts. Weirdly enough, this is the only level where he’s shined as a perimeter threat, as he shot 32% while with the University of Washington and below 30% in two of his four years in international ball.
Despite being the Blue’s starting point guard, most of the veteran guard’s perimeter jumpers have come from catch-and-shoot. This fact is due to how the team’s half-court offense emphasizes ball movement which obviously takes time off the shot clock. As Gaddy is usually stationed on the perimeter when that action is taking place, he’s always in position to quickly capture the pass and shoot his shot.
Transitioning over to his work as an on-ball driver, this is one of his biggest strengths despite being a slender 195 pound guard and only able to drive with his right hand. That ability to defy the odds comes from how he can use nifty dribble moves to get an edge on his perimeter defender. If he drives into contact, the clip below shows that the veteran guard is able to score. That knack isn’t exactly rare as he’s currently shooting 67% from within the restricted area on 87 total attempts.
Despite not being the most electrifying guard in the world, the veteran guard has been able to shine during his two years with the OKC Blue through being a smart veteran that can shine as an efficient facilitator and knockdown shooter. Although those traits have allowed him to shine in the G League, Gaddy stands as a player that NBA teams should look at for a 10-day deal.
That refined skill set would allow him to be a good fit for a team that needs a guard in their 2nd unit to control the pace of a game and knock down perimeter shots. Whether that’s with a playoff-caliber team or a rebuilding squad looking for depth, those traits would allow him to be a better immediate fit for a team than some G Leaguers that putting up more eye-popping numbers.
With those facts in mind, one of the thirty teams should look towards veteran Abdul Gaddy if they’re looking to bring a boost to their backcourt.