Season’s over. Off-season isn’t quite here. Draft prep is probably another week or two away.
Let’s do some looking back and hand out some ridiculous awards, shall we?
I just came across this informative video featuring Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova. I had no idea that a tip rebound translated to a “hücum rebound” in Turkish. Or that Ers spoke four languages.
Sometimes, the internet just gives us these gifts and we need to graciously accept them.
But I shouldn’t be surprised about his multi-dimensional language skills. After all, this is a guy who ranks both among the league’s better rebounders and 3-point shooters. And whether he’s bombing away on a catch and shoot or crashing a board or even taking a charge (another superior skill of his), he goes pretty hard.
That sort of effort made it only fitting to lead off this sham of an awards series of posts with Ersan. It isn’t a stretch to say he was the most pleasant part of the Bucks season. After shooting just 43% and 29.8% from 3-point range last season, Ilyasova responded with career best marks of 49.2% and 45.5% this season. He got better where he was weak.
And he got better where he was strong. Always a capable rebounder, Ilyasova bumped his rebounding numbers up another level with Andrew Bogut out of the lineup and Drew Gooden not quite as capable as he historically was on the glass. Per 36 minutes, Ilyasova grabbed a healthy 11.5 rebounds. He especially shined on the offensive end, where he grabbed 12.7% of available offensive rebounds while he was on the court, good enough for seventh in the league.
Yes, things generally went swimmingly for Ilyasova. The effort to get the boards and the decision making on what shots to take, what shots to avoid, when to find the 3-point line and when to pump fake made him a candidate for the league’s most improved player award. He looks like a pretty legitimate extra scoring option on a good team too. A guy who doesn’t need plays run for him and can save a possession by hanging out around the arc or crashing in to keep alive a miss.
But how much is that worth? Specifically, how much is it worth to a team that has some pretty big needs elsewhere? Estimates on how much the free agent to be Ilyasova will command this summer seemed to have ranged from $6-$8 million per year. He’ll get suitors overseas and plenty in the NBA too. The Bucks will have some money available, but at what point does the team need to stop shelling out big money to keep its own good but not great players?
Maybe they won’t have the say in that matter. Ilyasova’s on and off seemed interested in leaving Milwaukee. But he’s said before money will be the biggest factor, so it seems fair to think the Bucks have as good a chance as anyone in keeping the power forward.
If so, let’s hope he has a few more of these seasons in the tank.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. He’d love it if you stopped by every time you wanted to buy something on Amazon and gave him some click-through love on the banner up on the top right. Also –Twitter.