Observing Aleksa Ilic in an Adriatic League Basketball Game

October 20, 2017

By Alan Lu

I took the time to evaluate a game from Buducnost’s 6-8, 1996-born forward Aleksa Ilic from Montenegro, as he is an athletic combo forward that has been known for strong rebounding prowess overseas.  With thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d, I was able to see him play in an Adriatic League against Crvena Zvezda in an October 15th game.  Here are my thoughts on how did that day, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

For Ilic, the bulk of his scores come off of hustle plays.  His best score of the game was when he leapt up to throw down an emphatic put back dunk off of a teammate’s missed shot.  He also will look to set screens and roll to the rim, and he can draw fouls upon the opposition.  Also, he will run the floor hard, and on one play, he used an overhead ball fake to score on the break.

However, he does not seem to possess much of a face-up or low post game.  Ilic does not take many shots, and he does not appear to be very skilled offensively.  He did not take a jumper once in this game.  The one time he posted up, he actually fumbled an entry pass before attempting and missing badly on an awkward fadeaway jumper that was tightly contested by a defender, as Ilic rushed the shot in traffic.

He also may possess fairly average playmaking skills.  Ilic sometimes will look to find the open man, as he particularly did so after fumbling passes that were thrown to him, as he can throw a quick dump off pass, or pass out of the post.  Plus, he also can find an open teammate out on the break, and he will chase after loose balls to recover them for his team.  However, Ilic showed shaky hands as he had a tendency to drop passes.  He also did not tend to set firm screens, as there were multiple instances where he would not get a body on a defender at all, which would allow the opponent to quickly get back to his man.  But there were some advantages of him rolling to the hoop, as his lack of strength also may have helped him gain some favorable foul calls thrown his way on offense.

He also is a good rebounder.  Ilic is quite active on the boards, and he can clean the glass as long as opponents don’t put a body on him.  He will leap up quickly to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he can make the opposition pay for forgetting to block him out.  However, he tends to struggle to rebound more when he does get boxed out, as his lack of strength prevented him from getting to more balls.

Plus, he is also a fairly good defensive player.  Ilic is a solid help defender that can swat numerous shots when he is around the paint, as he can prevent opponents from getting easy opportunities to score in the post or on drives.  Also, he will fight through screens, and he also will rotate to help his teammates.  However, Ilic may struggle to defend in the post if he is not disrupting his opponents with his shot blocking ability, as he tends to give up deep position down low, and he can be prone to committing fouls and allowing scores.

Right now, Aleksa Ilic may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft.  He is an athletic big man that can rebound and block shots, but he will need to substantially improve his offensive skills, and he will have to add strength to improve his ability to set better screens, as well as to defend opponents in the post.  if he is able to make these improvements, he could increase his chances to end up becoming effective role player for a team in the NBA.

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