HOUSTON - Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wasn't the least bit surprised on how well Omer Asik is doing as the starting center for the Houston Rockets this season.
Asik, who received a three-year, $25.1 million contract to leave the Bulls this past offseason, was averaging 10 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, as well as being a defensive force for Houston in the middle with his shot-blocking ability and physical play.
"The thing is when you look at what he did throughout his career, in the two years in Chicago, he got significantly better, and for him he was playing behind Jo [Joakim Noah], so there weren't a ton of minutes there,'' Thibodeau explained on Tuesday. "But we felt strongly about how good he was, and we knew that. We also understood that he's got the right characteristics, the right make-up. I mean 7-feet, great drive, great character, and great intelligence. Those types of players always improve. So it's not surprising. He's getting more minutes so his production is better.''
The nice thing about having Asik for the past two years is when they do meet tonight, Thibodeau has a good sense of what the center's strengths and weaknesses are from a game-planning standpoint. Good luck getting the coach to detail them, however.
"It's not going to be an individual match-up,'' Thibodeau said. "It's his team against our team. But we know his strengths and weaknesses are, and we're concerned about how we're going to try and make it hard on their team as well. Omer is a good player, did a great job for us, we're happy for him, but we know there's a bigger challenge for us than any individual match-up.''