Room for a Turk?


So I’ve been watching a bunch of Jonas videos over the last few days and getting a sense of his offensive game. There’s a hook in there, a developing jumper, some back to the basket stuff, but mostly, I get a sense that he’s going to be a big pick ‘n roll guy in his rookie year. The Raptors haven’t had one of those for ages (Davis?), even Chris Bosh elected to pop more than roll on those screens. Given Jonas’ strength, you figure the Raptors need a suitable point guard to run those pick ‘n rolls and honestly, I can’t think of a better available guy (other than Deron Williams) than Jose Calderon to do that. Add in his expiring deal, Casey’s man-love for him, and Jose Calderon is here next season. Follow that up with a smaller, reasonable contract and you’re on your way to the first Raptors lifer. Jersey retired? Of course not, you got to have higher standards and not let emotion get in the way.

I don’t know much about the draft, except that the guy we’re going to get isn’t going to make much of a difference next year so I don’t bother with that stuff, especially not when you’re slotted at #8. I prefer free-agents, they’re a known product and of the products I know at the small forward spot (one which BC agrees needs to be sorted out, and where he’s shown a propensity to fill with a “biggish” guy like Turkoglu and Kleiza), I see someone like Ersan Ilyasova as someone Colangelo can be interested in. Other than having a little of James Franco going for him, he’s also got this according to his outdated ESPN Insider profile:

+ Pick-and-pop big man who can play physical and rebound. Will force shots.

+ Limited leaping ability. Doesn’t block shots and a below-average finisher.

+ Can defend post but struggles to guard perimeter. Good foul shooter.

Ilyasova regressed a bit from his promising 2009-10 campaign, missing 22 games with injury and looking a step slower when he played. He didn’t shoot any worse or better, but he was a lot less active offensively, losing 2.5 points off his 40-minute average. This was the exact opposite of what Milwaukee needed, as it was desperate for anyone who could generate a halfway decent look. The one positive from his season was that he shot a scintillating 89.4 percent from the line.

Defensively, Ilyasova was pretty average. His listed weight (235 pounds) may make him seem like a liability, but he relishes physical play and has no problem banging with bigger players. Plus, he takes tons of charges. Ilyasova’s problem is his lack of athleticism and average mobility, which makes it hard for him to defend the rim and help guards in pick-and-rolls.

I can add that he had his best season last year, one where he started 41 of 60 games and surprised everyone. Contract year performer or a man turning a page?

He was pretty candid about what it’ll take to acquire his services in a recent interview, basically saying that it’s up to the highest bidder.

“When I look at it I have to remember that it’s a business,” said Ilyasova. “Some teams overseas wanted to buyout my contract but I wanted to finish this season in the NBA. This is where I want to be right now, but we will see what happens in the future. Financially, whoever pays me more will be the team that I decide to sign with.”

At least the man’s honest and doesn’t pretend to have an allegiance to a Wisconsin club, which nobody would believe anyway. Bryan Colangelo’s already said that he’s accepted the fact that he’ll have to pay above-market value for free agents, so I can see him splurging money here as well.

One thing’s for sure, this RFA isn’t staying with Bucks as they’ve already got Drew Gooden and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute locked up long-term. To think of it, it’s surprising that the Bucks didn’t ship him off at the deadline.

So, free-agents I predict so far:

– Goran Dragic
– Ersan Ilyasova

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