Omer Asik has been a staple of the Chicago Bulls rotation this year. A seven-footer, Asik runs the floor well. He posts pretty good numbers in the rebound and block departments, most of the time. He has shown no fear getting physical with some of the NBA’s all-time greats.
He may even be a bit of an enforcer on defense. Some opposing teams may argue he plays dirty. The other night facing a resurging Tyson Chandler, Asik snatched nearly every rebound.
In today’s society this nickname might not be politically correct; but a great nickname for Omer would be, “The Turkish Terror.” Out of an effort to be politically correct, “Omer the Turk,” and “Omer the Assassin” are both equally fitting names. Omer was a second-round pick for the Bulls in 2008. He subsequently played two seasons in Turkey, and is currently a rookie in the NBA.
Little is known of Asik in the US right now, which is why he is an international man of mystery. For many Bulls fans, the only mystery with Asik is whether or not he will develop on offense.
He has looked promising grabbing boards, and setting screens and picks, but has not produced much as a scorer, although he is averaging over 50 percent on field goals.
Asik is 24 years old, and was born on the Fourth of July.
This is not a coincidence. His parents love America almost as much as Omer, and intentionally planned on having a child on the Fourth of July. New to the NBA this year, Omer has had success both in the Turkish League, and the international stage. He has played professionally in Turkey since 2005.
In the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Asik averaged 8.9 PPG and 6.9 RPG, while playing less than 20 minutes per game. He also was eighth in the tournament in blocks per game. Turkey had an 8-1 record. Their only loss was in the finals to a talent-laden US team.
Asik is consistently a positive plus/minus player for the Bulls, and if he can bulk up and improve on offense, he will be a staple of future postseason playoff runs when effective big men are most needed.
Simply having him on the bench to allow Noah and Boozer rest will be invaluable in series against the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Against the Miami Heat, the Bulls will be able to dominate down low the entire game, thanks to size advantage matchups.
In time, Asik can develop into a moderate to strong scorer. This will largely occur through playing more minutes in the NBA, and hitting the weights. If this happens the Bulls will be strongly positioned for the start of a dynasty. For this reason, Omer Asik is a great “pick to click” for the Bulls' extended postseason runs. Everyone knows what Rose, Boozer, Noah and Deng are capable of, but what if the Bulls had Asik tearing it up on both ends?
If that becomes the case, Asik will no longer be an international man of mystery, and will instead be the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. If Asik reaches his potential, he will be the first Bull to win the award since Ben Gordon. Toni Kukoc, who played an integral part during the Bulls second three-peat also won the award. However, Asik is likely two years of development away from contending for the award.
Before Asik can stop being an international man of mystery, he should clear up his stance on some geopolitical issues. Did you know that Omer Asik is not on the record for whether or not Turkey should use the Euro, or whether or not a sovereign Kurdistan should exist?
Americans are very intrigued by both of these issues, but with no statements from Asik yet, I will just have to wait for Omer’s people to set up an interview with me.