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Why Omer Asik Is Ready to Take on the Starting Role for Houston Rockets

Nov 16, 2010; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik (3) dunks the ball against the Houston Rockets in the second quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Love PatelContributor IIISeptember 27, 2012

Newly acquired Houston Rocket Omer Asik will take a on a significant role with the team, not only because he's ready, but because he has to.

After all, it's what he was brought to Houston for.

Since the injury and eventual retirement of Yao Ming, the Rockets have lacked a center with true size that can lock down the front court defensively.

This is exactly what Asik brings. He was known for his perpetuation of Tom Thibodeau's defensive style during his tenure in Chicago, and that's what the Rockets expect him to bring in larger doses.

Asik has never had to play significant time as a starter in the NBA, so naturally there will be questions about how effective he can be in that kind of setting.

With the way the Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey and the rest of the front office scout and evaluate talent, it's fair to assume they may have some insight about how well he'll do.

The most common method to try and gauge his effectiveness as a starter has been to extrapolate his statistics as a bench player in Chicago. As unsure as the method is, it gives hope provided he's conditioned to play those type of minutes.

Perhaps the biggest concern about Asik is his offensive ability, which he was criticized for lacking. Many were puzzled by the Rockets' steadfast interest in Omer as a restricted free agent despite his shortcomings on offense.

Asik has been working on that though, according to Jason Friedman of Rockets.com.

More importantly, depth at the position isn't exactly a luxury for the Rockets. Options following Asik include Donatas Motiejunas, and Greg Smith. There's no guarantee anyone past Motiejunas could be on the roster.

Motiejunas ideally would step into the forward position because of his mobility and ability to stretch and run the floor, but that position is so packed right now that center may be his only option for minutes.

Greg Smith has seen time with the Rockets before, but it's difficult to determine how he'll fit in Houston's future plans.

The plethora of young talent on the team could blend well with the (barely) veteran presence of Asik. Every player on the Rockets' roster besides Kevin Martin, Carlos Delfino and Shaun Livingston have three seasons or less each under their belt.

Houston possesses plenty of scoring talent with Jeremy Lin, Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and others. Asik rounds out the current roster with his ability to stonewall opposing offenses inside the paint. Couple that with the defensive effort of guys like Chandler Parsons, and the Rockets may have a team that can hold down well enough defensively to give the team a chance to thrive.

A big physical presence like Asik may be all the young Rockets will need to grow and progress steadily into a playoff team.

After all the brouhaha the Rockets were involved in surrounding Dwight Howard in the offseason, Asik could be certainly be the real solution. 

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