Monday, July 9, 2012

More on Ilyasova-why this doesn't make sense for the Bucks philosophy.

The contract details of Ilyasovas contract have not been released yet. It could turn out this deal is not as bad as it sounds if there are some non-guaranteed years at the end. I doubt this is the case as the Bucks were not in a great bargaining position since he was an unrestricted free agent. I promised more on the Bucks philosophy and why this deal doesn't make sense, so hear it is.
When John Hammond took over the Bucks he inherited a team full of bad contracts(Michael Redd post knee injury, Dan Gadzuric, Bobby Simmons) , and light on young talent (Andrew Bogut-pre elbow injury) from the Larry Harris era. He has been trading ever since to get rid of bad contracts, except for the step back taken when he resigned John Salmons and traded for Cory Maggette.
That misstep was likely due to some pressure from owner Herb Kohl, who wanted to keep his team in the playoffs after what looked like a breakouts season when Bogut was 3rd team all NBA, and Jennings looked like a budding star. Unfortunately Bogut's horrendous injury never healed and he has yet to return to the player he was, Jennings sophomore season was derailed by injury, Salmons checked out as soon as he cashed in, and Magegtte was just never a good fit. That left Hammond right where he was to start, trading bad contracts.
Other than that one year, Hammond has stuck to his script. The script by the way is the gameplan for small market teams to be competitive.
1) get rid of bad contracts. Teams that can't pay the luxury tax can't afford them.
2) accumulate assets- assets are young players with cheap contracts that have upside, draft picks, and veteran players that are in the last year of their contracts.
3) Accumulate a couple young stars coming into their own, who have yet to get big money contracts that you can build around.
4) Hope to find another team with a quality veteran they are willing to part with for some of your assets.
The Ilyasova contract only fits the script if either a) the Bucks feel he is a budding star and a player they can build around for the future, or b) they feel he is still a trade value asset even with his new contract. I don't buy either one.
Ilyasova is 25. By the time a guy hits 25 there are rarely giant leaps in ability. You pretty much know what you have. In Ilyasova they have a 6'10" stretch power forward. He's decent in the pick and roll on offense, but he won't be taking guys to the hole or backing them down in the post. He has limited ability to score on his own except from offensive rebounds. On defense, he is active, but he's not a great defender and never will be.
I like Ilyasova and I think he has the ability to be a starter/rotational role player on a championship team. He will never be a star, but on this years Bucks team he will be the teams 2nd highest paid player- behind Monta Ellis. That's just too much money for a good but not great player.
2 years from now the Bucks may be thinking that the should have let Ilyasova go the same way they let Charlie Villanueva walk a couple years ago. That worked out pretty well for the Bucks. Hopefully the Bucks aren't so salary cap strapped by this contract that they lose other talent in the next couple years, or worse yet are back to the game of trading bad contracts.

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