My latest from over at ESPN:
Before an early-November home game, Omer Asik peeks out from the corridor — near the showers where press is not allowed — into the Rockets locker room. Seeing a few reporters awaiting pre-game availability, he retreats back into safety around the wall. A week earlier, already clad in blue jeans and a green sweater, Asik is stopped by Rockets staffers on behalf of the media as he attempts to dart toward the exit elevators. This was the same night that Howard was introduced over the PA as the starter at power forward for the first time since 2004. “This is the only time we’ve gotten to speak to him in two years,” someone quips of the shy big man. Asik is asked his thoughts on starting next to Howard, an experiment to which the Rockets — at the time — were committed. He responds in expected generalities.