He’s a rebounding freak of the Milwaukee Bucks…
Perhaps with all the excitement that has been generated throughout the NBA over the exploits of the Knicks’ newest point guard, Jeremy Lin, it seems that Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova has fallen through the cracks just a bit. Although not as dynamic as Lin on the floor, Ilyasova has been a rebounding machine of late and needs some recognition as well.
The 6’10” 235 lb. power forward from Turkey has been very quietly putting up monster numbers over the past several games. In just his last three games, he’s put up 46 points and 34 rebounds as compared to say, Tim Duncan 48/38, or Joakim Noah 39/36, or Roy Hibbert 44/35, or even Paul Milsap’s 37/32. Clearly you can see that recently he ranks right up there with players almost totally owned in most leagues.
In the six games he’s played in since February 1st, he’s averaged just around 11 points and 11 rebounds, and 1 block a game. So just how good was his performance last night (Saturday) against the Orlando Magic? How ’bout 17 points, 16 boards, 1 block, 1 steal, and 1 three…and that was going up against Dwight Howard! Although the 16 rebounds were nothing to sneeze at, it wasn’t his career high as one might expect. He pulled that feat off earlier this year against Houston on January 25th hauling in 19 boards.
What surprises us is that he’s still coming off the bench as a backup (to the player with the longest name in the league), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He’ll also play behind Drew Gooden who has been playing his best basketball in years, pouring in an average of 22 points a game over his last 5.
Our recommendation mimics that of Knick coach Mike D’Antoni, who, when asked after Jeremy Lin’s second game and Knick win, “What will you do now as far as Lin’s minutes are concerned?”, D’Antoni remarked, “I’m going to ride him like Secretariat!” That’s what fantasy owners should be doing with Ilyasova but haven’t yet. Thus he’s our third sleeper pick of the season. (Bobcat Greivis Vasquez and Jeremy Lin were the other two).
We can’t tell you that Ilyasova will have a double-double every night but certainly we think you should grab him and let him help your team if you need a boost in rebounds. The Bucks have four games next week so he’ll be of even more use to fantasy owners. He’s available in 75 % of leagues and should be picked up in leagues of 12 or more.