I know it’s just the preseason but is it possible Omer Asik is on his way to becoming the most dominant rebounding and defensive big man in the game? The Houston Rockets sure hope so, the similarities between Asik and former 8-time All-Star Dikembe Mutombo are mind boggling.
Let’s get to the similarities of Asik and Dikembe. Both guys are 7ft, limited on the offensive end, block shots and rebound at a high rate. Their numbers are also very similar so far. Mutombo averaged 9.8 points and 10.3 rebounds a game in his career. Asik is averaging 8 points and 11 rebounds a game so far in the preseason. Asik hasn’t blocked many shots yet but I’m sure it will come with more minutes and more opportunities in the regular season. Mutombo is one of the greatest shot blockers of all time so it will be hard for anyone to compare to that.
One thing that Asik has that Mutombo never had is potential on the offensive end. Coach Kevin McHale raves about Omer’s passing abilities for a big man. Asik also cuts to the basket farily well for someone his size. He gets easy putbacks and ferocious dunks down low with ease. Mutombo struggled offensively throughout his career. Most of his points were scored on putbacks and dunks down low. Asik is working hard on his jump shot and hook shot in the painted area. The Rockets don’t need Asik to score much, but it would help the shooters outside to get more open looks if you could dump it down in the post on occasion.
It’s only been four games but this is what I expected Asik to do all along. I expect him to keep up this pace throughout the season. Asik has many skeptics that think he was overpaid and will turn out to be a bust. He may be overpaid, but this kid is far from a bust. If his conditioning continues to improve his stats will continue to go up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lead the league in rebounding and blocked shots in his first year as a starter.
Mutombo is one of the greatest defensive players to ever walk this earth. He’s also one of the greatest rebounding big men of all time. People underrated him throughout his career. Asik is also being underrated so far in his career. If Asik can do anything close to what Mutombo accomplished in his career Asik will be a total steal. The Rockets may not have gotten the dominant offensive scorer they wanted down low, but they did get the dominant defensive stopper they have missed since Hakeem the Dream hung them up.