In the summer before the 2012-13 season, the Rockets handed Omer Asik $25 million over three years to be their center of the future. On paper, it seemed like a major risk, as Asik had a small track record in the NBA and a complete lack of offensive skill.
In his two seasons in the NBA, Asik had managed just one double-double, the benchmark by which many big men are judged. In fact, in that stretch, Asik had eclipsed 10 points just 6 times in 148 games, a remarkable stretch of offensive futility.
The one thing that Asik did was rebound. In a league where smaller, quicker, athletic big men are cropping up all over the place, Asik stood tall in the paint for Chicago and grabbed nearly every rebound in sight. In the 2011-12 season, Asik grabbed over 20% of the rebounds available to him, propelling himself to third in the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes.
These stats were great, but the question facing Asik would be whether he could sustain those statistics in a move to the starting lineup. After all, Asik was only asked to give his all for some 15 minutes a night against smaller backup centers. In a league short on true big men in the starting lineup, finding centers off the bench who could match Asik's bulk inside was a rarity.
Omer Asik, rebounding extraordinaire
The Dream Shake | Feb 14