Underrated Utah Jazz player: Ersan Ilyasova
There wasn’t too much noise around the Utah Jazz’s acquisition of Ersan Ilyasova. But since they acquired him in March, he’s proven that he can be a key contributor off the bench in Quin Snyder’s offense.
At 33 years old, Ilyasova’s best playing days are behind him, but he does bring useful experience to a team that’s looking to go deep in the playoffs.
In his 12 years in the NBA, Ilyasova has appeared in 51 playoff games. The only player on the Jazz with more playoff experience is Mike Conley, who has played in 61 playoff games in his 13-year career.
Along with his experience, the Turkish international also allows Utah to space the floor. At 6-foot-9, he has the ability to play both as a stretch four and as a small-ball center. Like Georges Niang and Royce O’Neale, Ilyasova can also fill it up from long range. In his 12 games since joining the Jazz, he’s been a dead-eye shooter, hitting on 46.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.
He’s a proven player who is always ready to produce when called upon. This was evident in Utah’s recent matchup with the Lakers. In Gobert’s absence, Ilyasova put up 20 points and knocked down six 3-pointers while defending the much bigger Andre Drummond.
Niang, O’Neale, Ilyasova, and the rest of the healthy Jazzmen will try to maintain their lead in the Western Conference when they face the Phoenix Suns (44-18) on the road at 8 p.m. MT Friday.