Ersan Ilyasova has had a pretty standard career so far for a non-big name international player. Ilyasova was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 36th Pick in the 2005 NBA Draft at the age of 18. He spent his first season with the Bucks D-League affiliate and averaged a respectable 12.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. That earned him a spot on the Bucks the next season in which he started 14 games. Despite the moderate success, he decided to take his talents back to the Euroleague the following season.
After two seasons, Ilyasova returned to the Bucks a much older and more filled out 22 year old on a 3-year contract. Over his next two seasons he would average 10.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG for the Bucks will starting more than 60 games for them. However, it wasn’t until this season, his third and final of the contract, that he really put everything together. Despite only starting 41 of the 60 games he played in, Ilyasova averaged 13.0 PPG and 8.8 RPG in just under 28 MPG. Many look at those numbers and see potential, but still inconsistency, but I put the onus for most of Ilyasova’s inconsistent numbers on Head Coach Scott Skiles. He tends to toy with his players, especially ones that he doesn’t consider his type of player. We saw this in Chicago with Ben Gordon and saw it in a more explosive fashion this season with the Stephen Jackson saga. The Bucks have loaded up on power forwards over the last few years, including in this years draft with John Henson and appear ready to move on from Ilyasova.
Let’s look at some telling stats as well as a few pros and cons as Ilyasova heads into free agency.
-Ilyasova stands 6’10″ 235 lbs, ideal size for an NBA power forward.
-He is still only 25 years old (Only a year older than Pacers first-round pick Miles Plumlee)
-Ilyasova averaged more Reb/48 mins (15.3) than everyone in the NBA this season except Camby, Dwight, Cousins, Love, Bynum and Noah.
-He averaged 16.8 PPG and 10.6 RPG in games where he started and played at least 24 minutes this season
-He knocked down 45% of his threes last season and 36% for his career, making him an effective stretch four
-Ilyasova also averaged 19.1 PPG and 12.0 RPG in games where he played 30+ minutes.
-He posted an astounding 29 points and 25 rebounds on the Nets in February
-Is dangerously close to a liability on defense inside, but doesn’t lack effort. When the Knicks were playing Melo at the 4 against the Bucks, Ilyasova was only allowed to play 8 minutes in the game due to liability on defense.
-Because of his defensive problems, he cannot effectively play the 3 or the 5, limiting his versitility.
-He is likely going to be overpaid by someone
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets 4-Yr/$36M