Should Milwaukee Bucks Keep or Trade Ersan Ilyasova?

Jordan RodewaldContributor IIDecember 12, 2013

If the trade deadline were today, make no mistake about it, Ersan Ilyasova would be a hot commodity.

Despite starting slow due to injury, the 26-year-old Turk possesses an attractive arsenal of skills and would be a valuable asset to contenders and non-contenders alike.

That begs the question: Should the Bucks trade him?

While a simple "yes" would technically suffice, a more in-depth look into the versatile forward helps paint a broader picture.

Before making a case as to why he should be traded, though, we need to first look at what makes him desirable for other teams.


Effective and Versatile

Even with the influx of European big men who can play out on the perimeter, power forwards who can score efficiently both inside and out are still a rare breed.

Fortunately for the Bucks, Ilyasova can fill that void.

Whether it's knocking down threes, getting dunks or layups off pick and rolls or scoring with a decent array of post moves, he can do it.

In fact, he's been one of the more efficient power forwards over the past two seasons, especially from behind the three-point line.

2011-13 Percentages and League Rank
YearFG%3P%FG% Rank (Among Qualified Forwards)3P% Rank (Among Qualified Forwards)

There aren't many at his position who can help stretch the floor as well as Ilyasova due to his lethal accuracy from three. Sure, there are guys like Matt Bonner who can knock down an open look, but Ilyasova is much more than that and has a much bigger offensive array.

As he continues to heal, his numbers should start increasing and reaching around the same averages he has seen in recent years—assuming head coach Larry Drew gives him minutes.

And in order for Ilyasova's trade value to remain high, Drew must do just that.


The Pursuit of a Trade

Explaining why Ilyasova would be of interest to teams around the league is pretty easy.

He's a stretch 4 who can help space the floor and provide a team with a third scoring option. There are plenty of teams looking for that kind of player to complete their roster.

From Milwaukee's standpoint, the reason for trading Ilyasova isn't very complicated, either.

A season ago, he averaged 13.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in just 27.6 minutes. During his time on the floor, as depicted above, he was very efficient.

If he's such a valuable commodity, though, why would the Bucks trade him?

Even though he is efficient, he hasn't blossomed into the offensive weapon the team has needed him to be.

Part of that has to do with his health issues, but with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis gone, the opportunity for Ilyasova to break out as an elite scorer is there for the taking. Taking just 8.5 shots per game, though, it seems he is far too tentative to fill that role.

The argument for trading him is bolstered by John Henson breathing down his neck.

Ever since the end of last season, Henson has been making a case to become the team's starting power forward. He posted solid numbers down the stretch and throughout the summer.

In reality, moving ahead with Henson in the starting role makes more sense. When Larry Sanders returns, he and Henson would team up to form one of the league's most intimidating defensive interiors.

Additionally, Henson is developing offensively.

When you couple that with the solid, efficient play of Khris Middleton thus far, Ilyasova's value is further diminished.

Whether management will admit it or not, the Bucks are headed for a rebuild. Dealing Ilyasova at the trade deadline this year would be the perfect decision.

In addition to an increase in minutes for guys like Henson, Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, a possible trade could net the team a first-round pick or a viable starting option.

Sure, he has been a big asset to the Bucks for the previous two seasons, but it's time to look in a new direction. Ultimately, Ilyasova is just a road block to the development of the talent behind him.

It's time for general manager John Hammond to starting shopping him.


All statistics, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Basketball-Reference and accurate through Dec. 10, 2013


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