Assessing Dalibor Ilic and Sadik Emir Kabaca

October 15th, 2021

By Alan Lu

I decided to watch a Basketball Champions League basketball game that took place on October 13th between BC Igokea and Galatasaray, with thanks to YouTube via Erdem Curgen.  This match featured two prospects that could potentially end up going in the second round of the 2022 draft in Dalibor Ilic and Sadik Emir Kabaca.  Kabaca is a tall stretch big that had been shooting the ball well in Turkey’s top professional league, the Turkish BSL, and Dalibor Ilic is an athletic, high-motor combo forward that could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA.  Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as where they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Dalibor Ilic is a very athletic, high-motor combo forward that is a second round prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Nenad Vuruna/Igokea, via Srpskainfo)

BC Igokea’s 6-8 forward, Dalibor Ilic played well in his team’s loss to Galatasaray.  He especially excelled as a finisher on off-ball motion plays, and he is a high-flyer that can throw down some thunderous dunks on offense.  He also is an active rebounder and help defender.  While he’ll still need to improve his jump shot and focus on defense, he had a good game overall.

Ilic did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He would often score on backdoor cuts, as he would throw down a slew of powerful dunks to bolster his team on offense.  He also caught a lob off of a cut to score on a powerful, alley-oop dunk, and he showed a knack for taking advantage of distracted defenders that would lose track of him.  He also managed to score on a strong, put back slam after leaping up to grab an offensive board.

On the other hand, he struggled more to shoot outside shots or to create off the dribble.  Ilic missed on a quick three-pointer off the catch.  He also used a quick ball fake to drive to the hoop, but missed on a switch-of-hands runner.  He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Ilic is an unselfish player that passes the ball quite often, and he also managed to get an assist on a dribble handoff play late in this game.  On the downside, he’ll still need to tighten up his ball-handling skills, and he also set a moving screen that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover once.

Ilic did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing good athleticism, motor, and instincts.  He also managed to push the ball up the court off of a defensive board once, and he also was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board another time.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Ilic is an active help defender that can make solid plays on the ball.  He rotated to block a put back attempt hard to a teammate.  He also rotated to poke a ball away to get a steal another time.  He also would actively contest jumpers as well as shots in the paint to force misses, and he is quick enough to be able to react to ball fakes.  Sometimes though, he would lose focus on the defensive end.  He would sometimes wander away from his man and lose track of him to allow scores around the basket.  Other times, he would get beat off the dribble, and he also was outmuscled when defending in the post.  Another time, he was late to follow his man out to the corner, and he ended up allowing his man to score on a corner three.

Overall, Dalibor Ilic had a solid showing, and he especially thrived as a finisher on off-ball motion plays and as a help defender in this game.  He’ll still need to improve his outside shot and ball-handling skills.  Right now, he is a second round prospect whose athleticism and motor could enable him to project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA.  If he can improve his jump shot significantly over time, he could end up being a reliable role player similar to Luc Mbah a Moute in the NBA.

Galatasaray’s 6-10 forward, Sadik Emir Kabaca had his ups and downs in his team’s win over BC Igokea.  He was able to provide some inside scoring, and he also was a surprisingly good passer in this game.  On the downside, he didn’t shoot well nor take many shots from the outside, as he passed up many potential three-point shots, and he also struggled defensively in this game. Kabaca took only one three-point shot, and he missed a quick, wide-open three-point shot off the catch, as he missed it short in this game.  He also passed up numerous attempts to take threes other times, but he generally did a fairly good job of moving the basketball.

He also showed a decent ability to score in the post.  He missed on an awkward, turnaround jump hook early on, as he set up from too far away and showed awkward footwork that time.  His footwork and shooting touch got much better later on, though.  Later on, he used a quick overhead ball fake to his left to score with his right hand.  He also caught a lob to score shortly afterwards.  Also, he was able to score on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.

Also, Kabaca displayed satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  He did a good job of throwing timely passes to set up scores for his teammates.  When posting up once, he passed the ball back on a dribble handoff to notch an assist.  When posting up another time, he spun left and threw a subtle interior pass to a cutter to set up another score for a teammate.  He also was able to set a screen to help a teammate score on an open jump shot.  A couple of times, it seemed as if he got away with setting moving screens, but he also allowed his teammates to get open driving lanes on those occasions. Plus, he also was able to chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor to help his team grab some rebounds.  On the downside, sometimes he would not get balls in his area to help get other boards.  Another time, he committed a foul by hooking an opponent’s arm when going for a defensive rebound midway through this match.

On the downside, Kabaca struggled on the defensive end.  For the positives, he would get his hands in passing lanes, and he was able to deflect a pass out of bounds, and he also successfully doubled a post player to make it difficult for him to pass the ball another time.  He also was able to contest shots in the paint to force some misses.  On the other hand, he tended to get beat off the dribble as he would struggle to guard quicker players, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also would get caught ball watching and space out, as he would allow shooters to make open threes, and he also lost track of his man on a cut to allow a dunk another time.

Overall, Sadik Emir Kabaca seems to be a lower-tier prospect who may be dependent on his jump shot to be able to make it to the NBA in the future.  He seems to be a low upside sort of prospect, as he lacks elite physical tools, and is neither a great playmaker nor defender.  He also doesn’t seem to have much of a dribble game, and he exclusively looked to score in the post, or on jumpers off the catch.  He still passed up way too many shots on offense, and there were times where he just ha a forgettable presence on the floor.  Most likely, he will probably go undrafted in the 2022 draft.  If he can establish his jump shot as an elite skill and improve enough in the other areas, he could perhaps develop to the point where he could be an effective role player similar to Matt Bullard in the NBA someday.

Other Notes:

Galatasaray’s 6-3 guard, Eray Aydogan played late in the fourth quarter of this game.  He didn’t really do much of anything on offense, but he proved to be a gritty hustle player that was active as a rebounder and defender when he was on the court.  He was able to run down a long offensive rebound.  He also would close out on shooters to force them to miss three-point shots, and he also fought hard through a screen to stay with his man another time. Overall, it’s uncertain as to what he really does on offense and he’s not a great athlete, but his motor and aggressiveness on defense and on the boards could allow him to carve out a lengthy career in international basketball.

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