Ersan Ilyasova - Bucks Forward
Ilyasova was a key contributor for Coach Scott Skiles last year in Milwaukee. He started 41 games, averaged 13 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. The 6’10” Turkish forward with range shot 49% from the field and 45% from deep. This year he is expected to become the dependable front court teammate for the talented Ellis/Jennings backcourt.
In 6 starts, however, Ilyasova has yet to live up to expectations. Getting 24 minutes a game, Ersan has averaged just over 6 points and 5 rebounds a game while shooting less than 30% from the field and only connecting on 5 of 18 three pointers. The few times he has been at the line he has made less than half of the freebies. Though 4-2, the Bucks lead in the Central Division won’t last long if Ilyasova keeps up this kind of play.
Roy Hibbert - Pacers Center
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It’s tough seeing an all-star from a year ago on a list like this, but Roy Hibbert has earned his spot. The Pacers starting center is averaging just 8.4 ppg and 7.9 rpg. He’s still blocking shots, 20 in 8 games, but the offense they need from him in Danny Granger’s absence has not been there. He’s shooting less than 40%, he’s only shot 11 free throws all season and he still can’t stay on the court much more than 30 minutes a game. This is is 5th season in the NBA, he turns 26 next month. It’s time to either realize this is what the Pacers are going to get from Hibbert, or time for Hibbert to step up. With what the Pacers accomplished last year, and Derrick Rose out the majority of the season, the Central Division should go through Roy Hibbert and the Pacers. The way he’s playing, that’s fine with other teams, they’ll come right through Indiana and take it.
Carlos Boozer - Bulls Forward
We all know by now Carlos Boozer isn’t the guy to carry the load for the Bulls while Rose is out. No one expects him too, but they’ve expected more out of him since coming to Chicago in the summer of 2010. Last year he put up a respectable 15 and 8.5 shooting 53% from the floor, developing his chemistry with Joakim Noah and helping through Rose’s injury riddled season. Now Rose is out indefinitely and Boozer is struggling through 7 games, shooting just 41%, scoring less than 12 points and grabbing just 7 or so rebounds a game. Luckily for the Bulls, they have Taj Gibson and everyone else pulling their weight. I think everyone can agree the Bulls are just waiting until Rose is back on the court, then amnesty Boozer and give the spot to Gibson or a big name free agent the following summer.
D.J. Augustin - Pacers Guard
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While former Pacer Darren Collison is down in Dallas slicing up defenses with averages of 15 and 7 and shooting with great efficiency, the guy Indiana brought in to back up George Hill has been a disappointment. Hill is playing solid for the Pacers, doing what he can while Hibbert struggles and Granger recovers. Augustin however is struggling to gain the confidence of his coach and teammates. He’s seeing less than 15 minutes a game and can’t seem to make the best of those minutes, shooting 20% from the field and 25% from deep. Lance Stephenson and Gerald Green are the ones giving Coach Frank Vogel the quality minutes and backcourt depth the Pacers expected to get from D.J. Augustin.