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5 Roadblocks Preventing The Houston Rockets from Winning West

By Bill Simpson
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2. Omer Asik

He needs to give the Houston Rockets another chance.

There’s no need for a divorce just yet. The Asik-Dwight Howard combination wasn’t working, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the best back up center in the NBA and the defensive anchor of his own unit.

Dec 18, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) on the sideline prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not like the paychecks will be any less.

Without him, there is a huge hole at back up center. Instead of rim protection, a strength for Houston with him or Howard in at all times, there is a huge hole when Howard heads to the bench.

Terrence Jones is better used as a complementing power forward than a back-up center. Unlike Howard and Asik, his 6’ 9’’ frame isn’t quite big enough to bang down low with centers.

Donatas  Motiejunas is more of a traditional center than Jones, but per 36 minutes averages 6.8 rebounds. He has offensive skill but is such a poor defender that he constantly has trouble getting minutes. He needs more time to adjust to the NBA’s physicality and gain confidence in himself.

Per 36 minutes, Greg Smith averages less than a block and a steal but over seven fouls.  Though he has a great motor, he’s slow—hence the fouls.  Converse to Motiejunas, Smith is a liability on the offensive side. Similar to Howard, he has a poor free-throw history, shooting 61.8 percent from the line for his career. That’s Hack-A-Howard worthy.

Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen doesn’t sugarcoat it.

Asked about second unit, McHale twice mentioned getting Asik back. Take it for what you will. Asik would not comment, by the way.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 19, 2013

Asik was too public with his frustrations in Houston and the resulting trade rumors have dominated Rockets headlines all season. Not only is that a distraction, but it also disrupts team chemistry.

“[Chemistry] is hard to find. There’s a level of sacrifice and chemistry that is difficult to find but is certainly there in championship quality teams,” former Rockets head coach and current ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy told me in a December 2013 interview.

Asik is obviously not willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team.

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