2017-18 Player Preview: Ersan Ilyasova

Ersan Ilyasova returns to the Atlanta Hawks after a solid season as a backup Power Forward and earned a few starts when Paul Millsap suffered injuries late in the season. He’s one of the best role players in the league at his position! Last season, after the February trade to the Hawks from Philadelphia, Ilyasova averaged (10) Points Per Game,(5) Rebounds Per Game, and (1.7) Assists Per Game in 26 games with the Hawks.
 He turned out to be a great addition to the roster during the playoff push last year and will be one of the leaders on the current Hawks roster. Ilyasova provided a major boost to Coach Bud’s offense because he’s able to spread the floor, create his own shots and provide an instant spark on the court similar to Horford and Millsap in the Front Court. 
Another attribute the veteran Power Forward provides is the ability to make effective passes and with his stellar court vision, it’s a defensive nightmare for opponents. He’s also a solid three point shooter averaging (35%) from behind the arc.
 


​Ilyasova is another player on the roster that spreads the floor and thrives in the Pick and Roll Offense. Did I forget to mention he’s a stellar ball handler and can find the open player whether it’s for a three pointer or making cuts to the paint for a easy basket?  Although he’s not the best defender, Ersan is a great rebounder, shot blocker, and provides above average help defense when he’s on the court. 
Ersan brings an extra spark to the Hawks offense when he’s on the court and usually helps the momentum of the offense, which results in wins!  He provides the hustle on the court and will disrupt the flow of an opposing offense to give the Hawks a chance on a nightly basis. This season, we could see the veteran forward have a higher role in the rebuilding roster’s approach for the 2017-18 season! Although the Hawks are going through an evident rebuild, I still can see them finishing as a low seed in the NBA Playoffs for the Eastern Conference.

In conclusion, I expect Ilyasova to produce at a higher rate with a increased role on the Hawks with the departure of Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. He’s going to be a veteran leader for the young players such as Dwayne Dedmon and John Collins. I fully expect him to contribute  with the same intensity as last season while being effective on both ends for the Hawks.
My prediction for Ilyasova’s upcoming season is around (15) Points Per Game, (9) Rebounds Per Game, and (6) Assists Per Game as long as he continues to succeed in Coach Bud’s offense and provide a impact on the floor as a potential starter. If Ersan and the rest of the roster can develop into solid shooters, we could see the Hawks be a much improved team this year!
Coach Mike Budenholzer’s scheme is surrounded by outside shooting and big men that can stretch the floor while taking some shots as well. I’m interested to see how the veteran will perform in his second season in Atlanta and I expect great things!

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Phil Veasley
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil

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