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Counting down the Milwaukee Bucks' most valuable assets - Ersan's Gone

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Milwaukee's mercurial power forward is the next player on our list.

US PRESSWIRE

We're counting down the Milwaukee Bucksmost valuable assets one by one to get a clear picture of how Bucks fans view the current roster.

In terms of asset value, there is perhaps no Bucks player harder to nail down than Ersan Ilyasova. Which makes it fitting that in our countdown of Milwaukee's assets, he lands right in the middle.

At his best, Ilyasova is one of the NBA's most effective stretch fours, a lethal long-range shooter who stretches and manipulates defenses via simple pick-and-pop plays. He's also a good rebounder who can crash the offensive glass for putback buckets.

But that Ersan has been missing for more than a year. The version that took his place last season was a wildly erratic shooter and little more than average rebounder. Never much of a passer or defender, with his scoring efficiency as poor as it had ever been, Ersan's value effectively vaporized.

And yet, Bucks fans find it so hard to give up on the version that scorched the nets for two seasons, because that version is worth a whole lot. A true plug-and-play, instant-offense stretch four who opens up the court for other players, at his best Ersan would be a coveted piece for any championship contender.

But what does that make him to the Bucks, today? A gamble on future returns? A useful piece to hold in the hope he gets things turned around by the time the Bucks are in a more competitive state? It's hard to say. With the arrival of Jabari Parker, who will likely begin his career as a nominal power forward, and the rising urgency to clarify John Henson's future with the team, the Bucks can't so easily sit around and wait for things to work themselves out. Accordingly, our poll suggests Bucks fans are only content keeping him around as long as it doesn't jeopardize one of the Bucks' younger, cheaper assets.

And cheap is really the operative word here. The 27-year-old Ersan isn't an old man (though his true age has been debated), but he's owed $7.9 million each of the next two years (plus $400k guaranteed after that). While the Bucks aren't strapped for cap space at this moment, there's a lot of potential utility in nearly $8 million of financial flexibility that could be exploited if it weren't tied up paying an underperforming power forward. That leaves it up to the Bucks' front office to make the "hold it or fold it" decision.

Milwaukee Bucks Roster Asset Rankings

18. O.J. Mayo
17. Carlos Delfino
16. Chris Wright
15. Miroslav Raduljica
14. Zaza Pachulia
13. Jerryd Bayless
12. Johnny O'Bryant III
11. Ersan Ilyasova