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.


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