The Houston Rockets offered a 3 years, US$ 25.1 million contract to Omer Asik, who played Center for the Chicago Bulls in the last two seasons. My first reaction was to ridicule the Rockets, “US$ 8 million and year for Asik?????????”
A lot of the criticism came from a “we don’t know his name enough! Bah! Let’s mock him and the Rockets for the bad contract!” sort of place. But, when you check his numbers, things start to make more sense.
Asik is in the 97th percentile in points allowed per possession. He is in the 84th percentile in pick and roll defense and 77th percentile in post up defense.
His per game averages are not impressive, true. But, when his PER 36 averages 1 come into discussion, things change. Asik has 7.6 points, 13 rebounds, 4.7 offensive rebounds, 2.5 blocks and shot 50.6% every 36 minutes on court.
With Asik on the bench, Chicago allowed 97.6 points per 100 possession, a pretty impressive number. With him on the court, that number drops to 89.7 per 100 possessions. A -8 points difference. Impressive.
Offense is Asik’s biggest problem. Other than his 4.7 offensive rebounds per 26 minutes, he is a problem. Chicago scored 106.9 points per 100 possessions with Asik on the bench. Good enough to be the 3rd best offense ihe NBA. With him on the court, the Bulls scored 98.8 points per 100 possessions. That would drop them to the 24th offense.
Asik isn’t any good close to the rim. He made only 52% of his shot at the rim, 12.1% worst than the average for Centers in the League.
Indeed Asik is a defensive player. At least for now, he is no danger in the offensive end. Mas, with few centers in the NBA, and when you take into account how he defends the rim and helps Carlos Boozer on defense, it makes even more sense.
Want to see it make even even more sense? It is a back loaded contract. Meaning, Asik will get most of his paycheck in the last year of the contract. In each of the first two years, he will get US$ 5 millions, the rest will come in the final year.
Now, remember, that last year can be used as trade bait for teams looking to unload some paychecks, making a player in a contract year valuable.
Is it the best contract ever? No. But, after the hole left by Yao Ming, it’s a good way to try and solve the Center issue and have enough flexibility to make a move.
- Averages per every 36 minutes he plays ↩