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Rockets Trade Deadline Mini-Profile: Omer Asik

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If you're a more casual basketball fan like me, your first reaction to the Courtney Lee-Omer Asik rumor that was floated around last week went something along the lines of "Who or what is Omer Asik?" or "Why would they trade Lee for shoes?"

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Asik, in his rookie season, has been a pretty steady player off the Bulls bench this year. The Turkish center is showing flashes of brilliance in limited minutes, showing a deft shooting touch and enough on the defensive end to be named best rookie defender by ESPN writer David Thorpe. There are still rough patches in his game: he turns the ball over a lot and isn't a great passer, but those aren't uncommon traits for a big man. Particularly one who is still 24.

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Given the lack of defensive presence in the middle for the Rockets these days, it's quite understandable why the Rockets would be interested in Asik. I'm not sure he'll develop the skillset to be more than a good bench player, but that's essentially what previous Daryl Morey target Marcin Gortat's upside was. Those guys are pretty valuable in today's NBA, particularly when you don't have a top-of-the-line center to begin with.

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I'm not wild about the idea of giving up Lee. I figure he, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, and Luis Scola are the four best players the Rockets have going forward. That said, should the Rockets strike out Nene Hilario, Asik just might be the best center that's been rumored to be anywhere near the market. While Asik is young and might still become better, I think that says a lot more about the rest of the market then it does about him.

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As for Lee-Asik, I think I'd pass if it was on the table (Mike McGraw says it's not), mostly because I think Lee can be a Shane Battier for the new decade in Houston. While I'd be willing to deal Lee in a package for a superstar, or even a superstar-lite player, I think he's a little more valuable than Asik. Right now, anyway.

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