The Rockets have completely revamped the roster, and while the year promises to bring excitement, the challenges this young team will face will require patience. The preseason so far has shown the ups and downs each player faces, and what they will need to address as the season progresses.
As Daryl Morey continues his quest for a franchise player, the Rockets find themselves in search for stability. The presumed starting lineup will feature a backcourt of Jeremy Lin, and Kevin Martin, while Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, and Omer Asik round out the starting five.
Omer Asik signed a three year 25 million dollar contract with the Rockets which left many wondering if the team overpaid for the center. The term “poison pill” swept the basketball nation by storm after general manager Daryl Morey executed a savvy method earlier on Jeremy Lin. The “poison pill” would have the Rockets pay Asik 14.9 million in 2015, a contract that would be backlogged, making the investment difficult for the Chicago Bulls to swallow.
So far the preseason has proven to many Rockets fans that not only is Asik’s label as an above average defensive center true, but that his dedication after receiving a lucrative contract doesn’t need to be questioned.
In six preseason games played, Asik has racked up 69 rebounds, 25 of them being offensive. The Turkish center has shown his relentlessness on the boards each game, bringing a mixture of youth and height at the center position that the team has not had in years.
Asik’s ability to read plays on the defensive end is stellar. He moves his feet strategically, and most importantly realizes what he’s capable of doing. Asik has shown that he rarely takes risks that he knows he can’t handle. For a 255 pound center, Asik is able to cover the pick and roll, and stretch his defense out to the perimeter.
The forward heavy team is so thin at the five, that Asik’s value is irreplaceable. The Rockets do have Donatas Motiejunas the seven-foot rookie from Lithuania, but his lack of experience has shown this preseason. Greg Smith is another big man the Rockets are hoping to cultivate, but as they wait, Asik’s experience becomes all the more important.
Asik’s ceiling as an offensive player may not be high, but for the Rockets his defensive presence will help a backcourt of Lin, and Martin who aren’t traditionally known for defense. It will be interesting to see Asik transition into a starters role. He played behind the talented Joakim Noah in Chicago, but in Houston he is the man in the paint. Asik’s main challenges will be pacing himself, and staying out of foul trouble, something so many centers struggle with.
Asik is averaging 8 points, 1 steal, and 11.5 rebounds per game.
The pill on Asik was labeled “poison,” but for the Rockets it’s a prescription that they haven’t taken in years.