Ömer Faruk Asik

Ömer Faruk AsikÖmer Faruk Asik is a Turkish professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Asik, standing at 7’0”, was sought after by many of the top Euroleague basketball teams at the age of 19. Asik got his first chance playing professionally with the Turkish Basketball League team Fenerbahçe in 2005–06. After one season with Alpella, Asik moved back to Fenerbahçe and eventually ended his Turkish club career with them in 2009–10. He gained recognition playing for the Turkish national team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and as the starting center, he helped Turkey win the silver medal. In July 2010, Asik signed with the Chicago Bulls. He was nicknamed “The Turkish Hammer” and “Asik and Destroy” by Bulls commentator Stacey King.
Asik was first signed by Fenerbahçe in 2005. He only played two games before being loaned for the 2005–06 season to FMV Isik Spor Kulübü, in the 2nd division. Fenerbahçe didn’t have room on the roster for Asik and needed his in-game development to continue.
He signed for the 2006–07 season by Alpella. He averaged 10.75 points and 11.25 rebounds over 40 games playing for Alpella. Leaving Alpella in December 2007, he resumed the season signing with Fenerbahçe for a second time. He was destined to be a superstar but in 2008 he tore his ACL and didn’t play for six months. When he returned, Asik was creating havoc in the Turkish League, but he broke his collar-bone and didn’t play for two months. After his recovery, Fenerbahçe tried to make him sign a new contract and held him out of the team until he signed. Asik didn’t give in and sat out the rest of the season. At Fenerbahçe, Asik averaged 7.8 points and 6.1 rebounds during the 2007–08 and 2008–09 seasons. With the help of Asik in the 2007–08 season, Fenerbahçe won the Turkish championship. He was also a two-time All-Star for Fenerbahçe in 2008 and 2009.
Asik was drafted with the 36th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2008 NBA draft and immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls in a three-team deal. On July 13, 2010, Asik was signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls. On October 27, 2010, Asik made his regular-season debut for the Bulls in their first game of the season, a road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Asik earned more and more minutes as the season went on and eventually became one of the first players off the bench in the Bulls’ playoff run. In the post-season, he suffered a fractured left fibula.
Asik recovered from his injury suffered during the 2011 playoffs. After starting in only two regular season games in 2011–12, Asik moved into the starting lineup after Joakim Noah was injured in game 3 of the Bulls’ first-round series against Philadelphia 76ers. In the sixth and final game, Asik missed two free throws in the last minute, allowing Philadelphia to take the lead and win the series. Throughout the game, however, Asik had played well above his season averages, with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks (vs. 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1 block per game).
On July 20, 2012, Asik signed an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, reportedly worth $25.1 million for three years. Since Asik was a restricted free agent, the Bulls could have matched Houston’s offer, but decided not to do so and he officially joined the Rockets on July 24. On January 18, 2013, he set a career high for points with 22 in a loss to the Indiana Pacers and tied it on April 1, 2013, in a win against the Orlando Magic. Asik had a breakout season, becoming the Rockets’ starting center, averaging career highs averages of 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 30.0 minutes per game. His 956 total rebound count led the league in that category. Asik helped the Rockets to a 45-37 record and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2008–09 NBA season.
With the Rockets’ 2013 off-season acquisition of Dwight Howard, Asik role was dramatically reduced. After the Rockets initially started the 2013–14 season with Howard at power forward and Asik at center, coach Kevin McHale eventually changed the team’s game style, and Asik was moved to the bench in favor of up-and-coming forward, Terrence Jones. In December 2013, Asik injured his knee and was out for two months. In just 48 games in 2013–14, Asik averaged 5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. On July 15, 2014, Asik was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-team trade that also involved the Rockets and the Washington Wizards.
On October 28, he made his debut for the Pelicans in their season-opening game against the Orlando Magic. In 33 minutes of action, he recorded 14 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 assists in a 101–84 win. On March 17, he tied his season-high of 16 points in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks. On April 12, he recorded his 13th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to the Houston Rockets. On July 9, 2015, Asik re-signed with the Pelicans on a five-year, $60 million contract. His signing was panned by experts; Sports Illustrated gave the contract an initial “D” rating. On October 8, he was ruled out for three weeks with a right calf strain. On March 20, 2016, he scored a then season-high 15 points and tied his season best with 14 rebounds in a 109–105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. In the Pelicans’ season finale on April 13, Asik recorded a season-high 24 points and 11 rebounds in a 144–109 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. During the season, Asik’s contract was repeatedly criticized in the media, including RealGM calling the deal the least tradeable contract in the NBA.
Asik was limited to 31 games in 2016–17 due to a bacterial infection that was later diagnosed as Crohn’s disease. Asik missed eight months with the illness and lost 30 pounds as a result. On February 1, 2018, Asik was traded, along with Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen and a protected first-round pick, to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Nikola Mirotic and a 2018 second-round pick. In addition, Chicago will have the right to swap its 2021 second-round pick with New Orleans’ own 2021 second-round pick.
Asik first played on the national stage when he was appointed to Turkey’s 2006 U20 European Championship Men’s Division A team. He played a supporting role, averaging only 2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. The 2006 Turkish men’s national U-20 team won the silver medal, losing in the championship to Serbia & Montenegro. In 2010, Asik was a part of the Turkish nationalKondrya team for the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
He played a significant role for Turkey with 8.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, helping Turkey to the championship game against the United States. Turkey fell to the US 81–64, achieving the silver medal. He proved himself against some of the world’s greatest players, even scoring 17 points in a landslide victory over China.
Asik is known as a prominent interior defender and outstanding shot-blocker. In addition to being a good rebounder and help-defender, Asik’s offensive game improved considerably with his move to the Rockets in 2012.

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