And so the crowds have spoken, albeit not in the way I expected, but Brew Hoop democracy has ruled Ersan Ilyasova as the least valuable Milwaukee Buck on the roster. Turkish Thunder may have been rumbling all summer in China, but a swift storm of readers flew in real quick to send it shuttling back down to the confines of Mequon. Personally, I’m in pretty staunch disagreement on this one, but let’s run through some plausible lines of thought for this result.
1. He’s (relatively) expensive for a (relatively) older man
Yes, Jon Horst may have gotten a little too trigger happy doling out a $7M deal for Ersan at 12:01 in 2018, but all things considered, he was a pretty solid contributor of all year. He shot 36.3% behind the arc, essentially his career average, did the little things with his putbacks, and at least provided another big body that didn’t get all that exposed even as the Playoffs wore on. Sure, a man in his mid-30’s is gonna get torn out of his ASICS from time to time on the block, but I wouldn’t say Ersan was a noticeable deterrent from this team beating the Raptors last season. Sans his post-concussion shooting swoon, he probably played up to his contract.
2. He doesn’t have anywhere to go but down
Ersan smacked his SuperCuts head of hair on the ceiling long ago. It’s possible he might finally fall off a cliff this season, but there’s little reason to think he’ll find any way to improve upon last season.
3. He’s blocking D.J. Wilson
Of all three, this is the most compelling to me. Bud’s affinity for Ersan is obvious, and the veteran got plenty of run down the stretch last season as Wilson was marginalized following his midseason emergence. I’m guessing that’ll likely be the same case this season. There was an argument to be made that Wilson, with his defensive versatility, opened up an entirely different avenue for this Bucks team. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Bucks were essentially the same on the defensive end with D.J. Wilson on the court and Ersan Ilyasova (+0.5 pts/poss. vs. +0.3). Those stats are fuzzy though and don’t take into account the other players on the court.
The eye test clearly shows Wilson’s defensive ability exceeds Ersan’s, and Wilson’s agility could be a solid asset near the basket where the Bucks’ boast the best rim protection in the league, along with on the perimeter during switches. Ilyasova, as you could’ve guessed, was not a central part of that. In my opinion, I’m not sure Bud is going to budge from his veteran-leaning ways, so in that regard, this is a pretty worthwhile argument for the Ersan detractors.
Does that make him the least valuable on the team? I’d say no way. Thanasis was my personal vote given the fact I’ve literally forgot he’s on the team several times since the signing still feels so unbelievable, but I’d also accept Bender. I’m choosing to ignore the plethora of Bledsoe votes. Given the fact Ersan is an expiring contract and one of those veteran players I’d argue almost any Playoff team would be glad to have aboard for a few contributions, I would have had him noticeably higher on the value list. If Milwaukee wants to make a move midseason, his contract is also a quality mid-tier one that another team could covet as an expiring. But that’s just my two cents, which doesn’t ultimately matter when I’m shouting against the collective voice of the people.
Typically, I’d shorten the list more after the first go-round, but this roster seems to be driving a healthy dose of discussion, so I’ll try my best to leave the choices relatively lengthy. Let’s get back to it:
2019 Brew Hoop Roster Ranking
15. Ersan Ilyasova
The Next Least Valuable Buck on the Roster is...
This poll is closed
Wesley Matthews Jr.