Prior to the season, I discussed the likely failings of an Omer Asik – Dwight Howard combo in the starting lineup. Fast forward 10 games into the season, and all of the reasons I cited have become manifest in the Houston Rockets 6-4 start.
Nov 9, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) battle for a rebound during the third quarter at Toyota Center. The Clippers defeated the Rockets 107-94. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The lack of spacing and crammed lane presented problems; and as a result, Omer Asik was pulled from the starting lineup. The 7-foot Turkish sensation subsequently demanded a trade, which is about the last thing Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey would have asked for.
See, the problem with Asik demanding a trade, and appearing to be a redundancy in the Rockets’ lineup, is that if teams perceive the Rockets’ hand as forced into a trade, Asik’s value will not be as high in the open market.
Theoretically, the demand for a 7-footer, double-double averaging, young big man like Asik should be high. But if teams feel like Morey has no choice but to part ways with Asik, the offers may be quite underwhelming.
It then becomes an issue of whether or not head coach Kevin McHale can manage to showcase Asik and make the most of his talents in the meantime. The Rockets are -18 this season with Asik on the court, and the main reason is the stagnancy on offense. The Rockets win percentage with Asik on the court is just 42.9.
This season, Asik has shown some improvements, including a confidence and willingness to get involved in pick and rolls. James Harden has had to call Asik off the ball often this season, but it’s good to see his confidence growing on offense.
Asik said the reason he wants out of Houston is because he wants the minutes for his game to develop, but Morey hopes that Asik maintains his optimism in making the most of his minutes in a Rocket uniform. While five points and eight rebounds per game aren’t sensational, there are a number of teams that would upgrade their 5-spot by acquiring Asik.