The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t a very good basketball team. At 9-40 heading into tonight’s matchup with the Houston Rockets, they laid claim to the worst record in the NBA, and in the anemic Eastern Conference, no less. It’s possible that there’s a worse team in the league, and that’s a fairly charitable thing to say. With Ömer Aşık returning to action in Milwaukee, with the Rockets on a four game winning streak, with the team playing better than it has in a long while, it should come as no surprise that the Rockets very nearly lost the game. When inconsistency is the only constant, sometimes a win is just a win. After week-long period in which the Rockets only played one game, sometimes there’s some rust. And after a two-month-long injury, sometimes a player like Ömer Aşık has some rust of his own.
So, what of Ömer? How did he fare in his first game back? The answer is largely that he barely played. He saw the floor for eleven minutes, matching the time when Dwight Howard rested. He attempted no shots in that time, grabbed five boards and picked up two assists. He also changed a few shots, but that was mostly during his second six-minute stint. He looked a little slow and a little ungainly, even by his standards. Aşık seemed to get more comfortable as he played, but is clearly not exactly in game shape and will take a little while to get back up to twenty or so minutes per game. It was far from his best performance, but it was also a surprisingly hard job with the aggression of Zaza Pachulia and Nate Wolters. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s worthy of a sigh of relief. There’s a backup center again.