Hakeem Olajuwon enjoying time with Rockets
Can the Rockets’ big men, Dwight Howard and Omer Asik, play together in harmony?
That remains to be seen, but head coach Kevin McHale has made it known he wants to try to make it work with both of them on the court. And Asik seems to be on board too.
It wasn't always that way. When Houston signed Howard in July, Asik, who was the starting center last season, asked for a trade, but he came into training camp willing to play nice with Howard.
“I came here to play basketball,” Asik said. “That’s my job. I’ll just be ready for the training camp.
“I think he’s the best center in the league. That’s a great addition for the Houston Rockets. We’ll see how it goes. I’m a basketball player. I’ll do whatever the coaches say. I’m just going to be ready for the training camp, be ready for every change. Whatever I can do, we’ll see.”
“They’ll determine how much (they play together),” said McHale of the duo. “If it works really well, it’ll be a lot. If it works like crap, it won’t be much. I’m going to find out. We’re going to give it every opportunity to work.
“If it sucks, I’m surely not going to continue to do it. If it plays well, I think I’ll try to do it more.”
Howard thinks it's a great opportunity to play together and is excited about the possibilities.
“For me and Omer to work, it’s real simple,” Howard said. “If I get the rebound, he has to run the floor, be that first big to seal, try to get that easy bucket, get into offense that way. Or if he gets the rebound, same thing, get down the floor.
“We have an opportunity to mess up a lot of teams on the defensive end because of our presence. He’s a very big guy. If we play together, it gives me a chance to roam around, block a lot of shots, be who I am on the defensive end.”
“Defensively it will be really good — two good rim protectors,” Asik said. “We have to figure out how to play first. This is basketball. It's just a business. There's no emotions in it. You just have to be ready for changes. That's all I'm thinking about right now."
On Saturday, Howard admitted he hasn't yet been able to speak with Asik about the situation as much as he'd like, but he emphasized how important it is to communicate with him and let him know how he feels.
“I just try encourage him, try to push him a little bit to do more and we’ll see how it goes,” Howard said. “But I think a lot of times when everybody is in your head about a certain situation and you start feeling that way...I think once we start playing together and practicing and me talking to him, he’ll feel better about the situation and that’s what I want. I want him to feel good about this situation because we can win together and I know how important he is to this team.”