Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
The Bulls are pleased to see former teammate Omer Asik thriving as the Houston Rockets' starting center, but they also miss him as a defensive presence off the bench.
After averaging 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 14.7 minutes in 66 games with the Bulls last season, the Turkish center is averaging 11.1 points, 13.3 rebounds and 33.3 minutes in nine games with the Rockets.
A defensive specialist, last season Asik anchored Chicago's bench, affectionately known to fans as the "Bench Mob." Along with backup big man Taj Gibson, Asik gave coach Tom Thibodeau an imposing defensive front line he could use down the stretch in close games. Asik's play earned him a large off-season offer from the Rockets that the Bulls were unwilling to match.
"That's how I feel about (not) having the whole Bench Mob," Gibson said. "It's just weird because Kyle knew where I wanted to shoot. I could always allow Omer to back me up behind, rebounding the ball, blocking a shot. Ronnie Brewer, you always knew he was going to be in a spot. So that whole unit we had, we had guys recognize one another."