Turkish NBA players Korkmaz, Kanter and Ilyasova will help decide Eastern Conference champions

Turkey could see three notable home-grown NBA players in battle for the Eastern Conference in the post-season. Enes Kanter, Furkan Korkmaz and Ersan Ilyasova will play crucial roles either in the starting line-up or off the bench in their respective sides’ hopes of reaching the NBA Finals.

Ilyasova looks to be in prime position for a trip to compete for the crown given the dominance of the Milwaukee Bucks this term. However, the Bucks’ defeat in the Eastern Conference Finals last season suggests that there are still issues regarding their composure in getting over the line, despite the immense talent of their team.

Kanter’s Boston Celtics are well placed and could make a challenge for the first Finals’ appearance since 2012. The Philadelphia 76ers have been up and down, but have the talent on their team to make a surge down the stretch and Korkmaz will be a vital player off the bench for Brett Brown’s men. We’ll now look at their performances over the course of the campaign and their hopes of walking away with a ring come the end of the NBA Finals.

Ersan Ilyasova

Ilyasova has been a journeyman in his NBA career and has found himself on the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks. He actually began it with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2006 and has come full circle. He re-joined the franchise last season and played a role in their bid to reach the Conference Finals, coming off the bench and producing solid numbers for his team.

Ilyasova has notched 6.8 points per game in the post-season in 15 appearances, scoring 17 points in a game to win over the Raptors. However, he was unable to stop his team-mates sliding to a 4-2 loss to Toronto to miss out on the NBA Finals.

The 32-year-old has been solid off the bench once again this term. He has averaged 7.0 points per game, making notable impacts in victories over the New Orleans Pelicans and Atlanta Hawks. Ilyasova’s defensive work has been impressive around his own net, shoring up the Bucks rearguard in the closing minutes.

More will be expected of him and the Bucks in the post-season, and customers looking for the best betting opportunities in Turkey will be wise to monitor Milwaukee’s progress given their current status as the favorites in the Eastern Conference. Finding the best value could come from an offer such is the dominance of the Bucks, featuring the top contender for MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. If he thrives and players of Ilyasova’s ilk provide consistent support then Mike Budenholzer’s men should be on their way to play for the NBA Championship.

Enes Kanter

Kanter joined the Boston Celtics during the last off-season as a potential replacement for Al Horford following his departure to the Philadelphia 76ers. Although he was touted with the starting center role, he has seen his position reduced to the first man off the bench due to the impressive form of Daniel Theis. Injuries have curtailed his ability to play a major impact in helping the Celtics compete for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, although the 27-year-old has performed well enough in his time on the court.

He has averaged 8.6 points per game, which was down from his stints with the Portland Trail Blazers and the New York Knicks. However, Boston do not need a level of excellence from him. Steady outings will do the job to keep them competitive, especially ones of the caliber of his 18-point performance in their win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Between him and Theis, there could be enough production from the position to ease the pressure on Jayson Tatum and company in the clutch moments in the post-season for a Celtics’ charge to the Finals.

Furkan Korkmaz

At the age of 22 years old, Furkan Korkmaz may be the youngest of the Turks, but has the most decisive roles in the post-season out of all three. That’s because Korkmaz provides much needed long distance shooting to a starting lineup that needs floor spacing.

The 76ers are beginning to struggle and are sliding down the standings, currently sitting in sixth place at the time of writing. Korkmaz is growing into his game in his third season in the league. The forward’s rookie season was all but a red-shirt year, and although he played 46 games for the Sixers last term, his role was minimal to say the least. However, Korkmaz has become active off the bench in his third campaign, starting 12 games and appearing in 60 to date.

The 22-year-old is hovering around the 10 points per game mark and has been deadly from three-point range, notching two per game over the course of the season. Korkmaz has made strides in his all-round game as the term has progressed – notably his 34-point performance in the Sixers win over the Memphis Grizzlies. If he can put forward a display or two like that in the post-season, Brown’s men could move into contention despite their less than stellar form of late.

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