Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell excited to reunite with Ersan Ilyasova
In the midst of waiving forward/center Trevor Booker earlier today, the Philadelphia 76ers will welcome back a familiar face in stretch-four Ersan Ilyasova, who played for the team last season.
Despite his short experience with the Turkish international, Joel Embiid fondly remembers him and is excited to team up with him yet again.
“He was great, especially the pairing of both of us,” said Embiid, according to Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I remember we had great times going back to that January month … He’s a great player, stretch four, he’s actually really good defensively.”
Point guard T.J. McConnell, notably one of the scrappiest players in the team, noted Ilyasova’s versatility and work ethic, a trait which has stuck around with the six-foot dynamo ever since.
“He’s a great dude,” said McConnell. “Great teammate, very talented, and he works super hard. In the short time he was here, he was in the gym relentlessly and it was crazy. He taught me a lot about hard work.”
Ilyasova secured a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks and will be signing with the Sixers as soon as he hits free agency, allowing for a reunion with a now fully-healthy Embiid, McConnell, and an active Ben Simmons, who has made the most of his rookie season.
At 6-foot-10, the 30-year-old will allow the Sixers to have another big man that can stretch the floor, much like Dario Saric has in the starting lineup. The big man is averaging 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds, shooting a whisker shy of 36 percent from deep.