Position: Power Forward
Status for 2018-19: Unrestricted free agent
Ilyasova in 2017-18
After toiling away for half a season with the lowly Hawks, Ilyasova was bought out by Atlanta and decided to make his triumphant return to the Sixers.
Ilyasova took on a much smaller role than he did for the team in 2017-18, but still helped bolster the Sixers’ bench. In 23 games (three starts), Ilyasova averaged 10.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.1 minutes a game. He also shot 36 percent from three on 3.6 attempts per contest.
The 10-year veteran provided a strong backup four to provide depth behind Dario Saric and complement Joel Embiid. Ilyasova also gave the Sixers an option as a backup five when teams threw a smaller lineup at head coach Brett Brown.
Ilyasova did struggle in the playoffs, especially in the Boston series. He shot 43 percent from the field, but shot only 29 percent from three.
In Game 81 in Atlanta, Ilyasova had his finest performance of the season, tying a season-high with 26 points. He also added eight rebounds, shooting 8 of 16 overall and hitting 4 of 8 threes in a 121-113 win.
Ilyasova clearly savored playing his former team this season. In two games against the Hawks, he averaged 23.5 points and 12 rebounds, both his highest numbers against any team this season.
Looking ahead to 2018-19
This is a tricky situation. Ilyasova is an unrestricted free agent and a lot will ride on what the Sixers are able to accomplish this summer in free agency. Ilyasova has clearly enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and could probably be had on a cheaper deal.
With that said, the Sixers will have options. If they hit a home run in free agency, veteran players will be lining up to play for them. They also have 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden stashed overseas. Bolden could provide more athleticism at 22-years-old and more rim protection than Ilyasova. Bolden's shot is still a work in progress, but it has promise.
If there’s an opportunity to sign Ilyasova as an insurance policy, it makes sense. He provides versatility and clearly has the trust of Brett Brown.
“It was an amazing experience. I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it turned out. I know the team was special. As far as I was part of it, winning 16 games in a row, ending up in third seed of Eastern Conference, and being part of second round of the playoffs, it was amazing.”
- Ilyasova on reaching the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his career