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Grading the Bulls: Omer Asik

A look at the performances of the 2011-2012 roster

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Omer Asik may be remembered in Chicago as the guy who missed the big free throws against the Sixers, but he's much more than that.

    After playing sparingly last season, with veteran big man Kurt Thomas gone to Portland, Omer Asik played a huge role for the Bulls this season. Appearing in all 66 regular season game, the big man from Turkey played an integral part in Chicago's success this season as Joakim Noah's only backup.

    While his field goal percentage may have dropped from last season (55 percent last year and 51 percent this year), Asik's 5.3 rebounds per game and his one block per game average increased over last year's stats.

    Still not known for his scoring, his best offensive output this season came in a home game against the Phoenix Suns where he finished with 11 points. But he came within one rebound of his career high of 16 twice this season against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. He had 15 rebounds during a home game against Charlotte in January and again on the road in April.

    Despite playing professionally in Turkey for years, Asik is still a work in progress in the NBA game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. He has built a reputation of having one of the slowest gathers in the league as it seems to take him longer than most post players to receive the ball and then attempt a shot. But his value still lies in his defensive presence.

    At 7-feet and 255 pounds, Omer may not be an imposing presence in the paint, but he challenges shots extremely well and is also a decent shot blocker. He tied his career high of five blocks twice this season against the Washington Wizards at home in January and against the Denver Nuggets at home in March.

    Free throw shooting however is still Omer's Achilles heel.

    A career 48 percent shooter from the foul line, Asik shot just 46 percent on the season this year and had the two most famous free throw misses in Bulls history against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of the NBA Playoffs.

    After receiving an ill-advised pass from CJ Watson with the Bulls nursing a one-point lead, Asik was fouled and missed both of his free-throw attempts and Chicago was eliminated from the postseason just seconds later on a pair of Andre Iguodala free-throws.

    But short of his struggles at the charity stripe this season and despite being the only other center by position on the Bulls roster, Asik did a fantastic job with the minutes he was given in Tom Thibodeau's rotation and as a result, the Bulls will most likely pick up his option this summer and he'll be back in a Bulls uniform to start next season.

    Grade: B-