Underrated Milwaukee Bucks of the Giannis Antetokounmpo era – Ersan Ilyasova
Ersan’s value always came in that he was a versatile player who can play multiple positions. He can play as a small forward, power forward, or even center. This versatility had always made him a valuable asset to the Bucks, as he can be used in a variety of lineups.
Considering the eras in which he played and his overall consistency on the court, there was always a lot to like about Ersan.
First, he is a good shooter. He has a career 3-point percentage of 36.7 percent, which is above average for a big man, especially before the current 3-point revolution we see before us today. This shooting ability stretched the floor for the Bucks and opens up driving lanes for Giannis and Middleton for years.
All things considered, he was also a good defender. He was not a lockdown defender by any means (he was always too slow-footed to be one, after all) but his ability to leverage his size in the interior made him solid enough to hold his own against most opponents.
Most notably, he’s shown throughout his career a willingness to sacrifice his body to make plays on defense. Nobody else not named Kyle Lowry drew charges quite like Ersan did throughout his career. In the 2019 season, Ilyasova had 1.40 charges drawn per 36 minutes, a number that was miles ahead of anyone else in the association.
Yet on top of that, and perhaps most importantly, he was a good, unproblematic locker room guy. He is well-liked by his teammates and coaches, and he is always willing to help out the younger players. He had no problem coming off the bench for Antetokounmpo in his final stint with the team, for instance, and still performed exceptionally well especially when Giannis was sidelined with injury.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ersan had two separate tenures with the team throughout this era; one with Jason Kidd and another under the most recent Mike Budenholzer regime. If there was one Buck to afford a loyalty award of sorts, Ilyasova would have to be at least in consideration for that title.
Despite all of these positive qualities and contributions to the franchise throughout this era, Ilyasova is often overlooked because he is not a flashy player. He does not put up big numbers, but he makes a significant contribution to the Bucks’ success. He is a valuable role player who deserves more credit than he gets.
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, Ilyasova is also underrated because he has played for a number of different teams throughout his career. This has made it difficult for him to build a strong reputation with fans and media members.
But Ilyasova has always been a solid player, and he has made significant contributions to the success of every team he has played for. He is a true professional who deserves more recognition for his accomplishments.