What's Wrong with Ersan Ilyasova?

What's wrong with Ersan Ilaysova?

Ersan Ilyasova broke out in the second half of the 2011-2012 season, averaging 16.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.1 treys, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks over the final 28 games of the regular season. As a result, he was highly targeted in drafts this year, usually being selected in the fourth or fifth round.

Even without getting much of a discount on draft day, Ilyasova seemed to be well worth the price. After all, this is a guy who put together a 29-point, 25-rebound effort in 36 minutes of action against the Nets last February. He was going to be a double-double monster this season.

Fast-forward to eight games into the 2012-13 campaign, and Ilyasova is averaging a paltry 6.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.6 treys, 0.3 steals and 0.1 blocks in 24 minutes per game.

Owners of Ilyasova are understandably irate. He's easily the most asked about player in the comments on articles, message boards and our Ask An Expert feature.

The main problem with Ilyasova is a severe shooting slump to open the season. He's currently hitting 31 percent of his shots from the floor, 27.8 percent from downtown and 42.9 percent from the charity stripe. That's good for a True Shooting Percentage of 35.6 percent, which is well below the 57.7 percent he shot last season.

Ilyasova is settling for more shots away from the basket - he's taking just 2.6 attempts at the rim this year compared to 4.1 last season ? but his issue has been more about an inability to finish when he actually does get to the rim, as he's hitting just 33.3 percent of those bunnies. League average is about double that so some correction is bound to happen soon.

There are no reports of an underlining injury here, so odds are Ilyasova will shake of his slow start and start hitting those easy shots at a more appropriate rate before long. Once that happens, look for his confidence to be regained and more playing time to follow.

So how should fantasy owners handle Ilyasova going forward?

The correct answer in most formats is to stand pat. Cutting him from your roster would only be an option if you're in an extremely shallow league. Most 10-team leagues won't have a player available who holds the type of upside Ilyasova proved he was capable of last season. Meanwhile, trading him when his value is at it's absolute lowest would be unwise as well. For now, stick him on your bench and hope he shakes out of this early-season slump sooner than later.


By: Perry Missner
On: 11/19/2012 9:03:00 PM
A couple of points:
1. Ilyasova hit a pretty much unsustainable 50.8% of his threes after the All-Star break last year. He's not quite as bad as he's started this season, but he's also not that good.
2. In March and April last year when Ilyasova was putting up big rebounding numbers, the Bucks second and third leading rebounders were Drew Gooden and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. In other words, there was little competition for rebounds. This year, they have Dalembert, Sanders, and even Dunleavey to compete for rebounds. It may not sounds like a lot, but it is actually a step up.
3. I don't have stats to back this up, but I think putting up big numbers for a team that is basically out of the playoff race isn't that difficult. After February last year, the Bucks were 14-21 and probably would have been happy to get the eighth spot. So they gave Ilyasova, who had a hot hand already in February the ball as much as he wanted it. He did very well, but (as above) it was unsustainable. His regression below the mean is somewhat surprising, but the Bucks have other options this year (mainly Jennings and Ellis).
By: Shannon McKeown
On: 11/20/2012 8:37:00 AM
Perry - All good points. But remember, the Bucks gave Ilyasova a big contract this past offseason, so I do think the team is more committed to him being a part of the success over guys like Dalembert and Sanders. Ilyasova's averages in the second half came in under 31 mpg. With the starting PF gig, he should averages the same or more amount of playing time when/if he breaks out of his slump.

Agreed about the unsustainable three-point percentage from last year, but as mentioned, the problem this year has been his at-the-rim percentage.
By: Zenguerrilla
On: 11/20/2012 1:59:00 PM
The big contract blues......sell this year, buy next year.
By: nayfel
On: 11/21/2012 4:34:00 AM
Perry hits on many of my same thoughts. While Ilyasova produced solidly across the board in his second half, his skyrocketed value was fueled buy his 55+ FG% over that time. I don't need to explain how difficult it is for any player, let along someone who shoots 3s, to hit that percentage of shots over a sustained period. Without his lofty percentages, he was still valuable but not top 25-30 valuable.
So, can he become that guy, even without the %s? Can he produce 16-9-1 with 1 three and close to a steal and a block?
Been trying to pry him from his owner in one league. Extremely deep league and I have been offering, quite unsuccessfully, Dudley and I Thomas for him.
By: cillusthevirus
On: 11/28/2012 2:53:00 AM
Got him but dropped him after not being able to contribute. Do you think I can get him now since he came up with an 18 pt. output during the last game? I think he's being overshadowed by Jennings and Ellis.

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