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Following stints in Detroit, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Philadelphia (again), Ilyasova returned to Milwaukee last season, reuniting with the organization that drafted him back in 2005. Appearing in 67 games, Ilyasova averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in just over 18 minutes per game. Ilyasova took on a smaller role than he had in Philadelphia and Atlanta a year prior, but he was a key bench piece for the league's best regular-season team. While many of Ilyasova's contributions don't register in the box score -- he's arguably the best pure charge-taker in NBA history -- he's a dependable three-point shooter (36.3% 3PT) who attacks the glass and defends aggressively in the halfcourt. Entering his age-32 season, Ilyasova will likely hold a similar role to last season, meaning he does not project to be particularly relevant in most fantasy leagues.
Between Atlanta and Philadelphia, Ilyasova appeared in 69 games last season, averaging 25.1 minutes per game. He continued to be a consistent source of points, threes and rebounds. Since 2014-15, Ilyasova has posted at least 10.4 points, 1.3 threes and 4.8 rebounds per game. New coach Mike Budenholzer, who coached Ilyasova for 46 games last season, has a several directions he can take the starting lineup, which could allow the 31-year-old to start at power forward from Day 1. Even if Ilyasova comes off the bench, he should be a lock for sixth-man minutes in the frontcourt. While Ilyasova doesn't rein in as many rebounds as he used to, the veteran is still a candidate for some big games, as he recorded 10 games with at least 10 rebounds last season, plus 11 games with at least 20 points.
Ilyasova bounced around between three different teams in 2016-17, including the 76ers, Thunder and Hawks. With the Hawks specifically, he took part in 26 games (12 starts), posting averages of 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 three-pointers across 24.3 minutes. It was slightly less playing time than what he saw with Philadelphia earlier in the year, but that wasn't a huge surprise considering the move to a playoff contender. The Hawks liked what they saw in his short stay and opted to bring him back on a one-year, $6 million contract as a veteran mentor for the upcoming season. The Hawks are heading into a rebuild and no longer have Paul Millsap, Tim Hardaway Jr. or Dwight Howard, which is going to open a ton of looks on the offensive side of the ball. Ilyasova, the current favorite to start at power forward, is certainly expected to benefit, as he's already an established scorer. Ilyasova shot 36 percent from deep with the Hawks last season and has the capability to stretch the floor, so with an opportunity to play a much bigger role overall, his value should be on the rise. However, the fact that the offensive distribution is so unclear heading into the season, Ilyasova still brings plenty of risk. The Hawks also may throw some younger guys into the fire later in the season in an attempt to quicken their development, with a guy like first-round pick and fellow power forward John Collins coming to mind, which could come at the expense of Ilyasova. He should still see his numbers across the box score trend upwards, but Fantasy owners will need to consider the risks of him playing on a rebuilding team.
The Pistons acquired Ilyasova from the Bucks last summer with the belief that he’d provide more spacing alongside center Andre Drummond, but that plan didn’t exactly work out as the team intended. While Ilyasova was able to clear up the low block for Drummond on the offensive end, the Turkish power forward was quite inefficient with his shooting in 52 games with the team, knocking down a respectable 36.3 percent of his attempts from downtown, but only 42.5 percent of his overall shots. The Pistons elected to cut bait with Ilyasova by midseason, trading him to Magic in February and getting a new frontcourt partner for Drummond (Tobias Harris) back as part of their haul. Despite his past experience playing under Magic coach Scott Skiles during his days with the Bucks, Ilyasova saw his role decline while Orlando embraced a rebuild and finished the season with averages of 10.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 three-pointers and 0.9 assists across 25.4 minutes per game over his two stops. The Magic clearly didn’t view him as part of their future plans and dealt him to the Thunder on draft day in June. Now on his fourth team in three years, it appears Ilyasova isn’t much of a valued commodity these days, but he’ll still have a good chance at opening the season in a starting role now that Serge Ibaka is in Orlando. That said, the Thunder will likely take a committee approach to the power forward spot, with Ilyasova at risk of ceding heavy minutes to the likes of Enes Kanter, Joffrey Lauvergne and Domantas Sabonis. Don’t be surprised if Ilyasova notices another role reduction as the season progresses.
Ilyasova spent the first seven seasons of his career playing for the Bucks before getting traded to the Pistons this summer in a salary dump. Coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower had Ilyasova targeted as a potential trade candidate when they first took over the Pistons front office last summer, so when he became available for the sack of forgotten dreams that was the unguaranteed contracts of Caron Butler and Shawne Williams, the Pistons brain trust jumped at the opportunity to bring Ilyasova to the team. Van Gundy had a similar player to Ilyasova when he coached Ryan Anderson with the Magic. Anderson went from being a situational player to a starter under Van Gundy, and Ilyasova may be able to find the same consistency with SVG as his coach. Ilyasova will be playing next to arguably the most exciting young center in the league in Andre Drummond, a developing paint presence who will help Ilysaova earn lots of open looks from deep. For his career, Ilyasova has averaged 10.7 points, 0.9 three-pointers, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 24 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the field, 37 percent from three, and 78 percent from the line. As the starting power forward for the Pistons, he should be able to approach 28-32 mpg, which would improve his counting stats and help make him relevant in standard leagues. If you're looking for help in three-pointers in the last couple rounds of a standard draft, Ilyasova has good upside this season and is well worth a late-round pick.
Coming off of a difficult year marred by nagging injuries, Ilyasova will look to re-solidify himself as a starting-caliber power forward. The 27-year-old endured arguably his worst NBA season in 2013-14, averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting just 41 percent from the field and a career-low 28 percent from beyond the arc. His injuries began in the preseason when he was sidelined with a severely sprained ankle. The ankle would continue to hamper him throughout the year, eventually leading to him being shut down with 12 games remaining. With a full summer to recover, the ankle issues should be a thing of the past. The question now is: how does Ilyasova factor into the Bucks' future? The selection of Jabari Parker in June's draft seems to make Ilyasova more expendable than ever, and it's no secret the Bucks wouldn't mind getting the $24.2 million he's owed over the next three seasons off the books. In all likelihood, Ilyasova will open the season as the starting power forward – assuming Jason Kidd views Parker as a small forward – and he'll compete with Khris Middleton and John Henson for minutes. If a team puts forth an intriguing trade offer, though, Ilyasova could find himself playing elsewhere at some point this season.
Ilyasova's 2012-13 campaign was a tale of two halves. He was a massive disappointment for the first half of the season, averaging just 11.2 points (44 percent from the field, 76 percent from the line), 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 three-pointers made before the All-Star break. With a coaching change and some added confidence, Ilyasova managed to finish the season strong, averaging 17.2 points (49 percent from the field, 87 percent from the line), 9.0 rebounds and 1.7 three-pointers made after the All-Star break. While this certainly makes his 2013-14 outlook harder to gauge, a shift in the backcourt lineup from Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis to Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo will undoubtedly change they dynamics of the Bucks offense, allowing more chances for Ilyasova to shine, if he makes most of his opportunities. With young forward John Henson making his presence known in the roster, Ilyasova may see his minutes cut if he does not impress right from the get-go. Regardless, he is still likely be a solid fantasy contributor this coming season.
Raise your hand if you won your fantasy basketball league and had Ilyasova on your team. The forward from Turkey capitalized on injuries to other Bucks frontcourt players to breakout in 2011-12, shooting 45 percent from 3-point range while averaging 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in just 27.6 minutes per game. He finished second in voting for the league�s Most Improved Player award. Ilyasova has shown flashes of promise plenty of times throughout his career. When finally given an extended look last season, he seemed to display real improvement, and not just a player getting more minutes. He shot six percentage points better from the field and 16 percentage points better from 3-point range, relative to the previous season. Ilyasova emerged from a crowded forward rotation mid-season and averaged 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game after the All-Star break. Ilyasova was in the final year of a deal before becoming an unrestricted free agent, so there is an argument out there that he was more motivated to play for a new contract. Ilyasova will be the team�s primary option in the frontcourt, but the team will continue to be lead by Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in the backcourt.
Ilyasova is a versatile forward who rebounds hard and can shoot from the perimeter, but with a lot of forwards on the Bucks’ roster deserving of playing time, his minutes will likely be capped at around 25 per game. As such, he’s more of a guy to keep an eye on than a guy to consider late in drafts.
Observant fantasy owners and NBA fans will know now, if they didn't already before, that last year wasn't Ilyasova's first in the NBA. The 6-10 Turk was actually selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round (36th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft, at which point he went on to play 46 games Bucks' D-League team. Ilyasova then played 66 games with the Bucks in the 2006-07 season before going to play for FC Barcelona. He showed in his original NBA go-around largely what he showed last year, too (if slightly more refined in the latter case): an intriguing blend of big man skills and shooting ability. Per 36 minutes, Ilyasova averaged 9.8 rebounds and 1.5 threes last season. That's not a combination you're likely to find among many other players. Only problem is, he was only able to net about 23 minutes per contest. Nor is that likely to change this season: with the acquisitions of Drew Gooden at the four and Corey Maggette at the three, Ilyasova's chance of crossing the 30-minute threshold is slim. If he does, though, he certainly profiles as a decent player at the end of a roster.
Ilyasova played the last two seasons in Europe, but is still just 22 years old. He’s been drawing favorable reviews while playing with the Turkish national team this summer and could provide the Bucks will some scoring help. His defense will be a bit lacking, but he can make up for it with his offense.