Posts Tagged ‘Ersan Ilyasova’

Reports: Sixers To Sign Clippers’ Young; Plan To Part With Williams, Brand





Just as Philadelphia’s notorious sports boo-birds began clearing their throats for a little un-brotherly love over their NBA team’s offseason inactivity, the Sixers made some noise of their own.

There were a myriad of reported items for the Sixers on Friday, starting with an agreement on a one-year contract worth approximately $6 million for shooting guard Nick Young. Then the Sixers made even bigger news, making clear their plan to use the CBA’s amnesty clause on veteran power forward Elton Brand, as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports:

Brand will still collect the full $18 million that the Sixers owe him next season, but he will first be offered to teams under the salary cap through the waiver process, with under-the-cap teams able to lodge bids for him.

Sources tell ESPN.com that the Dallas Mavericks, under the salary cap after being foiled in their pursuit of marquee free agent Deron Williams, have interest in claiming Brand through the waiver process.

In the event that he goes unclaimed on waivers, Brand would then be free to sign as a free agent wherever he chooses.

They also will not be bringing back combo guard Lou Williams, a free agent who – off the bench – was Philadelphia’s leading scorer last season (14.9 ppg in 26.3 mpg). Williams removed any uncertainty about his Philly future by going the D-Will route and tweeted the news himself:

Philly, I appreciate you all. Unfortunately I will not be coming back, as an organization they decided to move in a different direction. (more…)

Rick’s Tips: Waiver Wrapping





The time for waiver watching is over, but we’re back to wrap up this season’s blog with my All-Waiver team — plus, my picks for the reality awards.

All-Waiver Team

CNikola Pekovic: Pek proved he’s a legit NBA center, averaging 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in 26.9 minutes, while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the line.

PFRyan Anderson: The NBA leader in threes by a mile over second-place Jason Terry, Anderson was the Pickup of the Year.

SFErsan Ilyasova: Andrew Bogut’s broken ankle and eventual trade opened up 27.4 minutes per game for Ilyasova, who averaged 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds with a shade under 1.0 in blocks, steals, and threes.

SGNicolas Batum: Speaking of fantasy gold, Batum was one of two players in the NBA this season to average at least 1.0 in blocks (1.0), steals (1.0), and threes (1.8). The other wears #35 for OKC.

PGJeremy Lin: Lin’s meteoric rise might go down as the top story of the 2011-12 regular season, and had he not gotten hurt, he might have passed Anderson for Pickup of the Year.

Fantasy Awards

MVP - LeBron James: I’m going with LeBron over Durant for two reasons: the Heat are 14-1 without Dwyane Wade (as of Sunday) and LeBron shot a career-high 53 percent from the field.

ROYKyrie Irving: The moment Ricky Rubio went down, this was Irving’s trophy, thanks in large part to sharp shooting from the field (.468), line (.872), and three-point line (.398).

MIPGreg Monroe: I looked hard at Anderson, Roy Hibbert and DeMarcus Cousins, but settled on Monroe for upgrading in virtually every category, including scoring (9.4 to 15.5), rebounding (7.5 to 9.7), and free-throw shooting (62 to 74 percent), despite a meager minutes increase of 27.8 to 31.6.

DPOYSerge Ibaka: Ibaka dominates the league at 3.7 blocks per game, while #2 is Javale McGee at 2.2. C’mon…the dude had a triple-double with blocks!

Sixth ManJames Harden: Duh…

COYLionel Hollins: I thought the Grizzlies were done when Zach Randolph went down in the first week, but thanks to Hollins’ leadership the Grizz have challenged for home-court advantage in the West all season.

Thanks for the eyes, basketball fans. See ya on the air and on the road during the playoffs, what a wild ride it’s gonna be…


Who Is Your MIP?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’ll get back to our MVP debate later this week.

While we wait to decide between LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant for the top award, today we get an early look at the frontrunners for the Most Improved Player award.

Our West Coast bureau chief Scott Howard-Cooper weighs in today with something of a surprise pick in Jeremy Lin of the Knicks. And he overlooks the fact that Lin played just 53 percent of the Knicks’ game this season and instead focuses on the impact Lin had and the seismic rise in production for the undrafted Lin from his rookie season to this one.

H-C makes the case:

Twenty-seven games, 25 starts, 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 44.5 percent shooting in 33.1 minutes. The season-long numbers: 35 games, 25 starts, 14.6 points, 6.2 assists, 44.6 percent shooting and 26.9 minutes.

But yes. Playing barely more than half the season, the equivalent of 43 games in a season with an ordinary calendar, is enough to earn Most Improved.

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Time To Earn For Bucks’ Ersan





MILWAUKEE – Forward Ersan Ilyasova has been on a tear for the Milwaukee Bucks – enough of one, in fact, that there might be interest in him at the NBA’s fast-approaching trading deadline (though Ilyasova will be an unrestricted free agent come July).

The 6-foot-10 power forward from Turkey, still just 24, had averaged 17.1 points and 11.7 rebounds over his last 10 games heading into Milwaukee’s clash vs. Chicago Wednesday night at Bradley Center. He had an active streak of 25 consecutive games with at least one offensive rebound, and he had boosted his 3-point shooting from 29.8 percent last season to 37.3 percent.

A week before the All-Star Game, Ilyasova went for 29 points and 25 rebounds against New Jersey, just the third player in franchise history to log a 25/25 game. In 37 appearances, he had three games with at least 20 points and had led the Bucks on the boards 19 times, compared to four and 11 times respectively in 60 games last season.

Granted, there are more rebounds to be had, with Andrew Bogut out again. But Ilyasova is free of the concussion troubles that cost him 20 games last season and he has improved his focus on the glass and his overall play. It’s safe to say that Ilyasova -– a bargain playing near the end of a three-year, $7 milllion contract -– will get a big raise somewhere this summer, though he has a nice comfort zone in Milwaukee.

“He’s rebounded the ball at a great rate pretty much the whole season,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said before Wednesday’s game. “And he doesn’t take as many ill-advised threes, and that’s had a very positive effect on his game. He’s gone from a 25-to-27 percent 3-point shooter to a plus-35 percent 3-point shooter in large part because he takes good ones now. He’s not running around searching for the line as so many guys do. If he finds it and he’s behind it and his feet are set, he lets it go. Otherwise … from 12-18 feet, when his feet are set, he’s a high-level shooter. He’s kind of found his areas there.”

Was it hard to sell Ilyasova on this more disciplined, higher percentage approach?

“No,” Skiles said bluntly. “He’s in his contract year.”

Rick’s Tips: Waiver Watching





The NBA is on fire right now!

Sunday was one of the greatest NBA days I can remember, what with the Kobe-Wade/LeBron showdown, Rajon Rondo’s historic triple-double, and Deron Williams’ career-high 57 points. Amazingly, Kobe doubled-up Wade (33-16), Rondo dialed up 18-17-20, and Williams exploded after 24 total points in his previous two games.

We haven’t chopped up the waiver wire in a couple of weeks, so consider this a heads up about players who may — and I want to stress “may” — still be available.

Jordan Crawford

Nick Young has been hampered by a knee injury and Crawford has taken full advantage, topping 20 points in five of his last eight games. Crawford peaked on Saturday with 31 points against the Cavaliers, reminding the fantasy world of what he did last year, when he averaged 19.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 threes in 18 starts.

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Bucks Again Getting A D In ‘O’

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Scorers come, scorers go and still the Milwaukee Bucks struggle to light up the scoreboard.

For the second time in as many offseasons – or what passed for one this time in the post-lockout rush job between Thanksgiving and Christmas – the Bucks have tried to spruce up their offense. With dreary results.

Prior to 2010-11, it was Corey Maggette, John Salmons and an offensive-boarding Drew Gooden who were going to get buckets for the Bucks. Instead, Milwaukee slipped from 23rd in points per game to dead last in the NBA (91.9), from 29th in field-goal percentage to last (.430) and from 12th in 3-point shooting to 24th (.342).

This time around, Stephen Jackson, Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih were brought aboard with similar hopes and expectations. And yet, after 10 days and five games, Milwaukee is having trouble scoring again. It ranks 24th, 25th and 27th in the three categories above, while its raw numbers have declined – 90.8 ppg, .412 and .253 – in part due to lockout rust but in part, frankly, because the Bucks and coach Scott Skiles earn their scoring shortcomings.

The 85-73 loss at Utah Tuesday was the latest example of Milwaukee putting the uh-oh in offense, as blogged by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Drew Gooden, starting in place of Andrew Bogut after the Bucks starting center had to leave the team for personal reasons, scored 24 points and was the only Milwaukee player to shoot better than 50% from the field (12 of 20).

Take Gooden’s shots out of the mix and the rest of the team made 22.7% on field goal attempts (17 of 75).

“We’ve got to recognize when we’re not scoring, and when we’re going through droughts, slow down and try to execute,” Bucks guard Shaun Livingston said. “Try to get great shots, not good shots.”

An asterisk was in order, because Bogut was joined in absentia by Dunleavy (groin injury) and Udrih (shoulder). Also, Milwaukee did average 98.3 points in its first three games, hanging 95 on the Bobcats, 98 on the Timberwolves and 102 on the Wizards. But then the Bucks’ output dropped to 86 at Denver Monday, followed by 73 last night. And remember, this is with Jackson and Carlos Delfino presumably green-lighted by Skiles and his staff and Ersan Ilyasova firing away as if he is, at least, healthy.

One contributing factor is point guard Brandon Jennings, who is back down to 37.6 percent (32-of-85) after bumping his accuracy ever so slightly from 37.1 percent as a rookie in 2009-10 to 39.0 last season. And let’s face it, bad shooting can be contagious same as good; if a defense can sag off one or two men, it can devote more attention to others. Utah contested a lot of shots at Energy Solutions Arena – Derrick Favors had five blocks and Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap swatted two each – but there were open clangs as well that made life a little easier on the Jazz.

The question now is whether the Bucks have both the personnel and the wherewithal to improve offensively. Michael Redd is gone. Ray Allen, Marques Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar aren’t walking through that door, either. The pattern under Skiles isn’t promising: Since he took over in 2008-09, Milwaukee has not ranked in the top 10 in any of the three areas above, getting as high as 12th in 3-point shooting two seasons ago.

Everyone knows, and many appreciate, the bulldog defense that Skiles preaches. But it seems odd that the guy who, as a Magic point guard, holds the NBA record for most assists in a game – 30, Orlando vs. Denver, Dec. 30, 1990 – can’t set up his team for more easy buckets.

The Numbers Game: Eurobasket

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Sixteen teams have gone home from EuroBasket, their Olympic hopes dashed. Eight teams remain, playing for two Olympic berths and four spots at next summer’s last-chance qualifying tournament.

Russia is the only undefeated team entering the quarterfinals, but Spain remains the favorite and, statistically, was the most dominant team in pool play. Each team has only played eight games, so we’re dealing with small sample sizes here. But when we look at offensive and defensive efficiency, we can get a good idea of how each team qualified for elimination-round play.

Eurobasket Efficiency
Team W L Pace Rank OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
France 7 1 72.0 12 111.1 3 105.3 13 +5.7 6
FYR of Macedonia 6 2 69.0 21 98.8 17 93.5 3 +5.3 7
Greece 6 2 68.0 22 103.6 12 97.9 7 +5.7 5
Lithuania 6 2 72.5 8 116.9 1 105.7 14 +11.2 3
Russia 8 0 69.3 20 108.0 7 91.4 1 +16.6 2
Serbia 5 3 72.6 7 110.3 5 107.6 17 +2.7 9
Slovenia 5 3 67.5 24 100.3 15 96.6 5 +3.7 8
Spain 7 1 73.0 6 113.2 2 95.9 4 +17.3 1

Pace = Possessions per 40 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

The numbers show that there’s a clear delineation between the top three teams (Spain, Russia and Lithuania) and the rest. But all eight teams deserve to be where they are, finishing pool play in the top nine in point differential.

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Did You See What We Saw?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The hump day schedule in the NBA is usually a robust 12 or 13 games deep, but we went with the diet plate (just 10 games) this week.

Lucky for us all, there was no skimping on the action.

Between John Wall‘s triple double, the Bucks’ beatdown of the Hawks, Michael Beasley‘s 42 points in a Minnesota win, David Lee‘s triumphant return to Madison Square Garden and a second straight epic comeback for the Utah Jazz in Florida, our table is loaded with plenty for you to chew on.

So all we have to figure out now is Did You See What We Saw?

The Prime Minister kicks things off with this special report on that Jazz-Magic thriller:

UTAH 104, ORLANDO 94

Looking good: Another night with Jerry Sloan‘s comeback kids! The Jazz rode the back of Deron Williams in the third quarter and Al Jefferson down the stretch to rally from an 18-point hole and sweep their annual trip to Florida. In their last five quarters (four regulation, one overtime), Utah outscored its opponents (Miami and Orlando) 153-112. And, as our man Dick Scanlon points out, the Jazz have rallied from 16-, 19- and 10-point halftime deficits in the last four days. Safe to say, the Jazz have this whole comeback-wins thing down.

Sound the Alarm: For Stan Van Gundy‘s bottle of Pepto Bismol, which is surely taking a pounding right now. Unlike when the Jazz beat the Heat two nights ago, Orlando’s lack of killer instinct wasn’t an aberration. Van Gundy was not pleased that after nearly blowing an 18-point lead against the Bobcats two games ago, the Magic didn’t learn from their mistake and totally blew their big lead against Utah. A jingle of the bell, too, for starter Ryan Anderson, whom Van Gundy cited for a lack of effort in his postgame comments.

HT’s Take: Big props for Sloan, who in back-to-back nights made crucial in-game adjustments. One night after the Jefferson-for-Kyrylo Fesenko center swap down the stretch in Miami, he switched to a zone defense in the second half against Orlando. That move flustered Orlando’s shooters and kept Dwight Howard a little more under control, allowing the Jazz to get some stops and sway momentum their way. Jefferson’s little rest in Miami worked out well last night, too, as he nailed a bunch of clutch shots in the post to seal the win.

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MILWAUKEE 108, ATLANTA 91

Looking good: An early 13-point deficit for the Bucks disappeared when the reserves hit the floor. Corey Maggette and Ersan Ilyasova entered the game and promptly turned things upside down. By the time the Bucks’ reserves had finished their first half work they were up 54-40 and the rout was on. The Bucks are finally looking like the team many of us thought they’d be with a healthy Andrew Bogut back in the mix.

Sound the Alarm: The Hawks did that for us. Did you hear what they had to say about their power outage on their home floor? “I don’t understand what happened,” Al Horford said. “When adversity hit us in the face we went our separate ways,” Josh Smith said. Not exactly the sorts of things coach Larry Drew wants to hear from a team that was undefeated as recently as Sunday morning .

HT’s Take: The Bucks weren’t just good last night, they were fantastic once they got going. Like Bucks coach Scott Skiles said, if you get up 30 on the Hawks in their building, you’re doing work. If the Bucks can keep this up, they might look back on this early stretch of the season as the turning point. It certainly helps that Brandon Jennings (19 points and 4-for-5 from deep in the win over the Hawks)  is heating up right now, too.

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Rethinking The Central

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The departure of LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the arrival of Carlos Boozer in Chicago was supposed to dramatically shift the power in the Central Division from the shores of Lake Erie to the shores of Lake Michigan.

But what’s supposed to happen and what actually takes place are often very different things. The waters on both shores are calm at this stage of the season.

In fact, much of what we assumed about the Central Division race this season (we picked the Bucks as the surprise team not only in the Central but also in the Eastern Conference overall) has not materialized yet.

Boozer’s out with that broken finger. The Bucks have struggled. Byron Scott has the Cavaliers playing hard but they’re about what we thought they’d be without James. Two other teams that many people felt would take at least a small step up this season, Indiana and Detroit, have not. And the Pistons are on the brink of disaster, with internal strife and a new ownership situation compounding their 0-5 record.

As of this morning, the entire division is on a combined 12-game losing streak.

“It’s hard to pick any one team in that division right now,” an Eastern Conference scout friend admitted. “Chicago has the best tools to work with, but they have a new coach and really a new system that they are all trying to get adjusted to, plus they don’t have Boozer right now. I think they’ll be fine, eventually. I don’t know what to say about the Bucks. Andrew Bogut just doesn’t look comfortable yet. It seems to me that he’s still favoring that right arm. But that said, they could have easily beaten the Celtics the other night and then there’s a totally different feel about them right now. It’s still too early to make any definitive statements about how things will turn out for those two. But the rest of the division … it’s just a mess right now.”

Boozer did get the pins out (he broke his pinky Oct. 2) and the hard cast off of his hand earlier this week. He gets the stitches out next week, though there is still no specific date for his return to action, per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.

The Bucks looked better than their record against the Celtics. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sees some signs of hope where Bogut’s bunch is concerned:

A lineup that included center Andrew Bogut, power forward Ersan Ilyasova, small forward Corey Maggette, shooting guard Carlos Delfino and point guard Brandon Jennings – with help from Keyon Dooling – was able to take the Celtics to the wire in a 105-102 defeat.

Maggette, who ranks as the Bucks’ second-leading scorer (15.0 points per game) and is emerging as a steady influence off the bench, played 22 minutes against Boston and had 11 points and three rebounds.

But coach Scott Skiles also was happy to see strong contributions from Ilyasova (15 points and seven rebounds) and Dooling (10 points on 4-of-7 shooting) as eight players gained significant on-court time against the Celtics.

“I’m not the only one with this opinion, but it’s got to be based on productivity,” Skiles said of his decision-making process to dole out the available minutes. “Then it will just show itself to you and everybody gets a comfort level in it.

“So far we haven’t gotten to that point where we can count on the productivity of all the guys, at least to the level we’re going to need it at.”

Things will only get more interesting tonight. All five teams in the division will be in action, with the Bucks and Pacers squaring off against each other, so the division-wide losing streak will be snapped.

It’s probably too soon to scrap our initial predictions — we’ll give them until Thanksgiving — and we still need to see how Derrick Rose and Boozer work together.

But we’ve got the eraser ready.

Notes from TUR 83, SER 82

The home crowd has carried Turkey to the gold medal game. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL – The games in this tournament just keep getting better and better. This one was another classic, with Turkey pulling out an amazing 83-82 victory over Serbia to reach the gold medal game.

That sets up the matchup that many have been waiting for: USA vs. Turkey for the gold on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). The atmosphere inside the Sinan Erdem Dome will be absolutely insane, as it was in the closing moments of this one.

Serbia was ahead most of the night, with Turkey cooling off after shooting 67 percent in Wednesday’s win over Slovenia. When Turkey tied the game at 46 early in the third quarter, Milos Teodosic led Serbia on an 8-0 run, which began with a cold-blooded pull-up three when the whistles were at their loudest.

Turkey climbed back to within two early in the fourth, but Serbia answered again and was up eight (72-64) with five and a half minutes to go after another Teodosic pull-up three.

That’s when Turkey scored 14 points in five possessions, with Kerem Tunceri putting them ahead with a pull-up three that nearly blew the roof off the arena.

Serbia then answered again, and Marko Keselj put them ahead by grabbing an incredible offensive rebound and hitting a pair of free throws with 28.7 seconds left. But on the other end, Serbia gave Tunceri a wide-open lane and his drive-and-dish to Semih Erden gave Turkey a one-point lead and fouled Nenad Krstic out of the game. Erden missed the free throw with 16.8 seconds left though.

Then Serbia ran a beautiful play to take the lead. Teodosic ran a pick-and-roll with Novica Velickovic. He hesitated a bit, then drove left and dished to Aleksandar Rasic who was cutting along the baseline. Rasic caught the ball and immediately hit Velickovic on the other side of the basket for a layup that put Serbia up 82-81 with 4.3 seconds left.

After Turkey called timeout, they inbounded the ball to Hedo Turkoglu who appeared to fumble the ball, but it went right to Tunceri on the baseline, who had another open lane to the basket. His layup put Turkey ahead one with 0.5 seconds left.

The clock out when Serbia inbounded the ball in the backcourt, and the whole building celebrated. But the referees ruled that Serbian coach Dusan Ivkovic had called timeout, and they put 0.5 back on the clock.

The timeout gave Serbia the ball at the mid-court line, and they gave themselves a good shot at the win when Dusko Savanovic threw a great lob to Velickovic. But Erden was right there to block Velickovic’s layup at the buzzer.

  • More than half of Serbia’s shots (29 of 57) came from beyond the arc.
  • Teodosic finished with 13 points and 11 assists, but made just one of his four shots in the fourth quarter.
  • Turkoglu led Turkey with 16 points on 6-for-14 from the field, but he didn’t have a single assist. In fact, Turkey assisted on just 10 of its 27 field goals.
  • Tunceri scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, connecting on all four shots he took in the final period.
  • Turkey almost beat itself by shooting just 20-for-33 (61 percent) from the free throw line.
  • Speaking of free throws, there was an interesting play/manuever/strategy when new Bulls center Omer Asik was fouled with his team up one and 1:18 left in the fourth. Asik, who was 1-for-3 from the line in the game and 15-for-41 (37 percent) in the tournament, laid down on the ground in pain after the foul, holding his face. Turkey replaced him with point guard Ender Arslan, who was just 4-for-10 from the line in the tournament. Arslan made one of the two freebies.
  • Late in the fourth quarter, there were reporters (at least I assume they were reporters) waving their arms and whistling in the media section when Serbia was shooting free throws.
  • Serbia will play Lithuania for the bronze medal on Sunday (noon ET, ESPN Classic).

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.