Philadelphia 76ers Ersan Ilyasova proving his worth
It's no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers are a bad basketball team and their 0-6 record to start 2016-17 has proven it. This is a squad that's coming off a league worst 10-72 record last year and despite landing the No. 1 overall pick in Ben Simmons, they've yet to see him in action with his foot injury that has sidelined the rookie for a good portion of the season. To make up for the loss in output that Simmons would have contributed, the Sixers turned to big men Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor who have put in valiant efforts but don't exactly provide the post-presence and drive to the basket that Simmons would. Embiid is averaging 17.6 ppg and 6.8 rpg while Okafor is respectively putting up 11.4 ppg with 4.2 rpg but those numbers are far from enough to get the Sixers in the victory column.
Trade for Ersan Ilyasova
Although the team have yet to secure that first victory, the Sixers made an effort to bring in a quality player to shore up the holes before Simmons can make his debut. On November 1st, the Sixers and Oklahoma City Thunder swapped forwards. The Sixers sent 22-year old Syracuse product Jerami Grant to the Thunder in exchange for PF Ersan Ilyasova and a conditional first-round pick. Grant was drafted 39th overall in the 2nd round by the Sixers in 2014 but never really panned out for Philly. His stats were under par with his highest average point total reaching 9.7 ppg. It was perhaps time for a change of scenery for Grant who was reportedly being chased by the Thunder for a while. Coming to Philadelphia is Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova who is coming into his 9th year of NBA play. Ilyasova was drafted 36th overall by the Bucks back in 2005 making his team debut in 2006-07 but never really turned into a prominent starter for the club. The Turk played on Detroit and Orlando last season before joining the Thunder this offseason and then getting traded to Philadelphia.
In three games thus far with the Sixers, Ilyasova has proven that he can indeed still compete. He's averaging 15 ppg on 40% shooting from the floor including 41.2% from deep. Those aren't astronomical numbers but he's certainly a valuable alternative to come off the bench and give the Philly starters some breathing room knowing there's a solid contributor who can replace them.
If you play in a deep league with a lot of other members, Ilyasova could be an excellent stop gap if you're short in the PF position. He's not the game's most dominant player but you can't argue with his statistics. Ilyasova has been putting up double digits in points on a consistent basis and can even add some boards from time to time with 4.3 per game this year.