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2019-20 Three B’s - Ersan Ilyasova

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It’s probably the last legs of beloved Ersan’s time in Milwaukee...

Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images

Welcome to the Brew Hoop’s entirely subjective and emotionally-driven 2019-20 Milwaukee Bucks season player evaluations! Similar to last year’s series, we’ll take a look at each current Buck and ask three questions: what do they do that helps (Boon), what do they do that hurts (Bane), and whether they ought to be on this team (Belonging).

Were it not for the arrival of Marvin Williams midseason, we would’ve gotten to see more of Ersan Ilyasova in what will probably be his swan song in Milwaukee, possibly the league. The 11-year veteran has served admirably for all these years, but a lack of defensive mobility, lessening of his legendary charge drawing ability and creaky offensive game found him effectively benched for the postseason.

Ersan’s Boon: He was Still Ersan, 11 Years Later

Amazingly, he shot precisely his career average, 36.5%, from 3-point land this year. His consistency is a marvel, and he actually wasn’t significantly different from last season. In fact, his per-36 points, rebounds and assists were technically up this year. He was still trotting out one of his trademark moves, the putback, usually after some weird tip to himself. Ersan led the team in terms of percentage of shots that were putbacks, at 10.6%.

There’s really not a whole lot else to say about the man. He gets strange offensive rebounds. He’s still doing the stepback that he made cool before James Harden was ever around. He’s still undoubtedly a Bud favorite who slurped up minutes from D.J. Wilson.

Ersan’s Bane: Defense

Here’s all the stats you need to see folks. Ersan’s charges drawn:

  • 2018-19: 49 (1st overall)
  • 2019-20: 11 (tied for 23rd)

Yes, despite playing just 250 fewer minutes this year than last, his charges drawn were significantly down. When your one elite skill escapes you, it’s probably time to hang up the cape. On top of that, we saw it in the postseason last year, but he just can’t hang with any sort of wing or forward with even a whiff of athleticism. He turns into a turnstile, and without the strength to really bang in the post, he gets whipped up down there too.

Does Ersan Belong?

Sadly, not anymore. His appreciable skills are waning and there doesn’t seem to be any hope for him on the defensive end of the floor. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have one skill he’s elite at, a la Kyle Korver, so his jack-of-all-trades game won’t work nearly as well as he ages into the latter half of his 30’s.

On top of that, the Milwaukee Bucks have a third year team option for $7M that would be bonkers for them to pick up. The only conceivable way I could see them doing so would be to accrue enough salary to make a trade work. Otherwise, there’s no way Ersan should be coming back. We salute you Turkish Thunder, you’ve given us many, many good years.