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What do the Rockets do with Omer Asik?


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:32 PM

    New post: What do the Rockets do with Omer Asik?
    By: Forrest Walker

    The Houston Rockets are awash in a sea of happy feelings. They just signed superstar center Dwight Howard to a four-year max contract and look poised to run for a championship each year of that deal. With a fan rally and press conference involving Houston’s  “Legacy of Bigs,” the rose-colored glasses are on. Unfortunately, there’s a problem with the bigs that’s just going to grow. Ömer Aşık has reportedly asked for a trade, and doesn’t want to exist alongside or behind Dwight Howard. With a trade reportedly off the table, how does Houston address this issue?

    The initial assumption was that the Rockets would simply move Aşık in a trade for a suitable power forward. Speculation only increased with reports that Aşık had asked for a trade due to the Howard signing. As one of the best defensive centers in the league and clearly a starting-caliber player, it seemed only reasonable to trade Ömer in order to make everyone happy. He gets a starting position, another team gets a defensive anchor, and Houston gets a solid power forward.

    We all forgot one thing: Dwight Howard likes Ömer Aşık. With Harden and Howard reportedly asking for Lin and Aşık to stay in Houston, it seems likely that the Rockets will start the season with them on the roster.

    Ömer Aşık is worth $8 million in cap space each of the next two years, and he’s too skilled to play for a mere ten or fifteen minutes off the bench. He’s had that role before and knows that his skill level calls for a greater role. There are only a few ways for him to get the minutes and role he needs, and we’ll soon see which one Houston picks. If they can’t make them work, he could still be moved before the season is over, so the clock has begun to tick.

    The most radical option, and one which is unlikely for a variety of reasons, is for Ömer to develop a three point shot. With the deck stacked against this choice, it would be a real surprise to everyone outside of the organization, but would probably be the best long-term solution. The biggest hindrance here is Ömer Aşık himself, as he likely has no desire to radically change his game to suit the team’s roster. This might get his starting spot back, but his qualm seems to be that it was ever lost in the first place. He’s also likely to prefer continued instruction in the post, rather than the arduous process of building a three point shot over this and coming summers.

    The advantages to this, however, are staggering. With even a halfway decent corner three shot (in the 30-35% range), Aşık would be able to space the floor on offense and become an even more credible threat on pick and rolls. He could shift to sort of a second big on the floor, without needing to worry about center or forward differentiation. It might seem unlikely, but a number of players have added three balls to their repertoire, including Patrick Patterson when he was a member of the Rockets. Jason Kidd became famous for suddenly picking up his three point percentage in the late 2000s. Even Donatas Motiejunas, a possible starter for Houston, shot less than 30% from behind the arc, meaning that “spacing the floor” isn’t the same thing as being a marksman.

    All those players, however, were adept shooters from some range prior. Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo, two notoriously poor shooters, haven’t yet added that aspect to their play. It’s very teachable but very difficult to add that element, and there’s no good reason to believe it would happen. Ömer Aşık is likely to remain the same player he is today.

    The next option, then, is to find a way to work him into the system as he is. Thomas Robinson also had no shot and was playing some minutes next to Aşık. Greg Smith, another of Houston’s seemingly endless big rotation, played power forward as well. He similarly had no shooting range, and was fairly successful when on the floor with Aşık. This would seem to suggest that it may be possible to arrange a rotation such that Howard and Aşık share the floor for ten to fifteen minutes a game, allowing Ömer to rack up 30+ minutes a night. This could also allow him the chance to start games at the four spot, which may help his morale. “Starter” is an important distinction, and even if he were to sit after only a few minutes, that’s a move he might appreciate.

    The danger there is that teams could easily come off him on defense, wreaking havoc on the Rockets’ offense. Another wandering big man down low could destroy the spacing for players like Harden, who need room to operate. Defensively, Aşık would be even more prone to being pulled out of the paint while at the four, given the prevalence of stretch fours in the league. It might only be for fifteen minutes a night, but those fifteen minutes could prove disastrous.

    Some teams, however, might be good matchup for a twin-towers houston. Teams like the Memphis Grizzlies or the Los Angeles Clippers may be vulnerable to stalwart defense inside, and large bodies to out-rebound on both sides of the glass. This would require savvy rotations from Houston, however, something which the Rockets haven’t yet proven to be a strong point.

    Demoting Ömer Aşık fully to a bench player would seem to be the easiest option, but in the end may be the worst. He’d provide plenty of rest for Howard and anchor the defense for 48 minutes a game, but he would likely only play for 15-20 minutes a night, far below what he’s become used to. A simple reserve position would also likely do nothing to mitigate his morale, making his value and chemistry drop further. If general manager Daryl Morey wanted to find reasons to trade Ömer Aşık, this would probably be the right choice. It’s hard not to see the situation coming to a head unless the Rockets were to win 90% of their games with Ömer Aşık on the bench.

    With Houston starting training camps ludicrously early this year, there’s no way to know what to expect. They seem to be devoted to finding a chemistry and game plan that will work for all players involved. Nobody known the disposition of Houston’s players better than Houston’s front office, and there’s no doubt they’ll exhaust all possibilities in an effort to prepare for a Finals appearance as soon as possible. Don’t be surprised when strange things happen in Houston. But maybe don’t expect Dwight Howard to shoot threes, either.

     


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    #2 timetodienow1234567

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    Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:48 PM

    You talked about bigs learning to shoot 3s but didn't mention Ibaka
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    Why so Serious? :D


    #3 John P

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      Posted 15 July 2013 - 06:03 PM



      I think just an NBA average jump shooter, to provide some spacing away from the lane would be enough....but it doesn't look like Asik is really built for that. Sort of a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.


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      #4 John P

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        Posted 15 July 2013 - 06:07 PM



        ....overall, I think the issue is just timing. Morey is in all likelihood going to trade Asik for one reason or another.
        I think the big issue is whether or not our young PFs develop into a starting level PF. If they do then the pressure is really off to trade Asik.
        Then we don't have to have the cap space eaten up by Asik and have the benefit of keeping good D throughout the game by rotating Asik in for Howard.
        However, if Jones, DMo, etc... can't take the next step then most likely Asik is traded.
        ...the question then is to who?
        If LMA or Love really push to get out of their current homes then maybe, but only Portland really needs a quality center.
        What do we trade with Asik for LMA? Lin? maybe, if he shows marked improvement from last year.
        Anyway, I think the issue with Asik is that he is a great center and relatively cheap for his skill set. With everyone in the NBA knowing that we may need to trade Asik, they will low ball us in offers. The last thing we need is to sell out on game round defense in exchange for a B or B PF that doesn't really move the needle for the team.


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        #5 Richards

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          Posted 15 July 2013 - 07:03 PM



          - If shooting is easy to teach, there will be more Ray Allen than DeAndre Jordan
          - Smith is more athletic and has better post game. Switching position ain't easy. If Howard can't do that, nor Asik.
          - For benefits of all, better trade Asik. Not now but sooner than later though.


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          #6 ale11

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          Posted 15 July 2013 - 07:28 PM

          Since Howard is much more mobile than Asik, it would be wiser to place Howard at PF in those 10-15 minutes per game. If the problem is that it would take space from Harden's driving lanes, then try to bench him as much as possible during those 10-15 minutes (he needs to rest at some point). An efficient rotation seems a hard task right now (given that it wasn't one of McHale's strengths last season), but it's doable as long as Howard cooperates a tiny bit and Asik's ego doesn't get bruised enough to start going public about wanting to be traded.


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          #7 miketheodio

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            Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:23 PM

            i dont see them playing together as starters. asik comes off the bench and plays 5 minutes with howard as a defensive stopper. 15 minutes on his own.


            Edited by miketheodio, 15 July 2013 - 08:24 PM.

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            #8 rocketrick

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              Posted 15 July 2013 - 09:01 PM

              The Rockets are in an enviable and unusual position in having 2 quality starting Centers. I expect the Rockets will take their sweet time and not rush into trading Asik just for the sake of trading. Instead, I would expect that Morey already has his eyes on certain players that would be a great fit for the Rockets and once he determines which can be traded for, I would expect Morey will structure another favorable trade using Asik as the lynchpin. In the meantime, the Rockets get 48 minutes of rim protection and an opportunity to try and find a way to play both Asik and D12 together to see if there's any chance of that somehow working out (doubtful but certainly worth the effort).
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              #9 pimpfriedrice

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                Posted 15 July 2013 - 09:34 PM



                "If shooting is easy to teach, there will be more Ray Allen than DeAndre Jordan"

                Ray Allen is an extreme example. There ARE more serviceable three-point shooters in the league than seven footers. A lot more. There are also a thousand college players a year that can shoot lights out that will never sniff the league. Part of that is because you can't teach elite athleticism, but you can teach decent three point shooting (this is the team's hope for both Moti and Jones, it seems).


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                #10 rocketrick

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                  Posted 15 July 2013 - 09:41 PM

                  If there really are a thousand college players that can shoot lights out then why are offensive stats falling off the cliff in College Basketball the past few years?

                  I do agree that decent 3 point shooting can be taught. It's really more a matter of taking a tremendous number of practice shots then parlaying that into game action.
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                  #11 Johnny Rocket

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                    Posted 15 July 2013 - 10:05 PM

                    Maybe we should put Asik at the point and trade Jeremy Lin.


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                    #12 Mason Khamvilay

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                    Posted 15 July 2013 - 10:15 PM

                    No need to rush, we have him for another two years. With that being said, Morey is too smart of a GM to let a very, VERY, valuable asset walk away in 2015 without getting anything for him. Alot of teams are in need of elite paint protection and elite rebounding at the center position, and several of those teams are going to be hovering around .500 desperate for a boost. Certain teams will be more desperate than others, for example Portland and Minnesota need to convince Aldridge and Love that they're moving forward so there is reason to stay, Dallas might be desperate to make a push while Dirk is still capable of greatness. Asik's value at the trade deadline is going to be huge, and I'm sure Morey will capitalize as usual if he can get a deal where he feels he comes out on top and gives the Rockets a better shot at becoming a dynasty. 


                    Edited by 2016Champions, 15 July 2013 - 10:16 PM.

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                    #13 Steven

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                      Posted 15 July 2013 - 11:35 PM

                      - If shooting is easy to teach, there will be more Ray Allen than DeAndre Jordan
                      - Smith is more athletic and has better post game. Switching position ain't easy. If Howard can't do that, nor Asik.
                      - For benefits of all, better trade Asik. Not now but sooner than later though.

                      Clutch is more athletic then Smith.

                      Edited by Steven, 15 July 2013 - 11:36 PM.

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                      #14 Rockets fan newton

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                        Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:47 AM

                        No need to rush, we have him for another two years. With that being said, Morey is too smart of a GM to let a very, VERY, valuable asset walk away in 2015 without getting anything for him. Alot of teams are in need of elite paint protection and elite rebounding at the center position, and several of those teams are going to be hovering around .500 desperate for a boost. Certain teams will be more desperate than others, for example Portland and Minnesota need to convince Aldridge and Love that they're moving forward so there is reason to stay, Dallas might be desperate to make a push while Dirk is still capable of greatness. Asik's value at the trade deadline is going to be huge, and I'm sure Morey will capitalize as usual if he can get a deal where he feels he comes out on top and gives the Rockets a better shot at becoming a dynasty.

                        I agree waiting is the right move..it allows us to keep Dwight fresh for the playoff run..keeps his min low and we could give him days off and start Asik like the spurs do lol

                        ..i also think we need to see how good Lin and the Pf's do starting with Dwight and Harden..if they get the job done then moving them makes no sense..we could then move Asik for a scorer of the bench and another back up center..

                        and I think the best and most Lilkly real reason to wait is that at the deadline there will be some teams that hope to go to the playoffs out of the picture..west is to good for both Portland and Minny to get in..and whichever one of them is losing,if not both..them love and/or LA are going to be screaming to get out..we would be ready and still the best trade option for them..Asik,Dmo,young assist of their choice,and future 1st round picks..they won't find better for a player that wants out at the trade deadline
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                        #15 Richards

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                          Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:35 PM

                          My worry is Howard will leave after three years if he didn't get a ring or no appearance in finals.

                          Assuming OKC (Durant) and Miami (LeBron) are top teams to beat, we might have to find top-tier defenders to slow down Durant/LeBron.

                           

                          Look at our predicted line-up Lin/Harden/Parsons/Jones/Howard, only Howard is an outstanding defender but he can't slow down smaller and quicker PF like Durant/LeBron. I hope we trade Asik plus some assets for a elite defender at wing.


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                          #16 pharmag

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                            Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:44 PM

                            My worry is Howard will leave after three years if he didn't get a ring or no appearance in finals.

                            Assuming OKC (Durant) and Miami (LeBron) are top teams to beat, we might have to find top-tier defenders to slow down Durant/LeBron.

                             

                            Look at our predicted line-up Lin/Harden/Parsons/Jones/Howard, only Howard is an outstanding defender but he can't slow down smaller and quicker PF like Durant/LeBron. I hope we trade Asik plus some assets for a elite defender at wing.

                            Don't forget that Parsons was one of the better defenders his rookie year and highly praised, but took more of a role on offense this past season with all the roster changes.  I think he could be the wing stopper we need, but we shall see.


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                            #17 Steven

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                              Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:11 PM

                              Watch Jones become the "great" defender. Top 10 in blocks.
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                              #18 thejohnnygold

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                              Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:13 PM

                              Garcia looked like a more tenacious version of Battier when he was here in Houston during the playoff series against OKC.  As a 6'7" SG he has the size to move up and guard the bigger wing players.  Parsons can play some D.  We also have Patrick Beverley.  T-Jones can play.  We can also go twin towers (despite some people's aversion to it).  Defense is of no concern--they will be solid once they get used to playing together.


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                              #19 Richards

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                                Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:51 PM

                                Bev can't slow down Durant/LeBron for sure. Yes, Parsons improve his offense more than his D. Still he can't slow those guys down either.

                                Garcia showed some success against Durant but he ain't a starter and not sure he can do it consistently. We don't have any data for TJ, he is very athletic and has potential.

                                 

                                Twin towers? My bet is we won't see that except for a few minutes together.


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                                #20 Steven

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                                  Posted 16 July 2013 - 05:12 PM

                                  That will be the most boring basketball. Asik and D12 on the court together = nap time. The Rockets offense will be stagnate and slow. No spacing and clogged lanes.
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