- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at each player on the Bulls roster and see where they fit in for the future. Let's take a look at a player who made a big impact in his first NBA season ...
2010-11 salary: $1.721 million
Season recap: Asik struggled at times during the first couple months of the season to find a rhythm and adjust to the NBA game. He spent extra time working at the Berto Center with assistant coaches Ron Adams and Ed Pinckney and head coach Tom Thibodeau, and that extra work paid off. Asik became an important member of the Bench Mob and gained a lot of respect in the locker room because of his work ethic. He became Joakim Noah's main backup by the end of the season and gained valuable experience in the postseason before a fractured fibula end his rookie year prematurely.
Season highlight: In a March 17 game at New Jersey, Asik came in off the bench to score 11 points and grab 16 rebounds. It was a performance that gave him even more confidence and something his teammates and coaches took great pride in. Just two games later, Asik followed that up with a season-high 14 points against the Sacramento Kings.
Season lowlight: Obviously, the season-ending injury was a lowlight for Asik. Aside from that, the only thing he struggled with at times was with the adjustment to a new country and a new league. He looked unsure of himself offensively, and the Bulls know that is something he must work on in the offseason to improve upon. And he must improve from the free throw line, where he shot 50 percent.
Final grades: Regular season -- B | Postseason -- B
Notes: Asik seemed to fit in well with his teammates, and he was a constant source of humor for them because of some of his wardrobe choices. The big key for the the Turkish center is to heal his leg, hit the weights hard in the summer and work on his post moves. For as much as he improved during the year, he still only averaged three points and four rebounds, albeit in limited minutes. Asik has a chance to make a lot of money in his new deal if he can show the league he can be more of a force offensively. He is a good rebounder, he sets good screens, and he has the chance to be a great defender. If he can become a reliable threat offensively he will eventually become a starter -- either for the Bulls or another team.
What's next?: Like Taj Gibson, the Bulls do not want to deal Asik. They see him as a very valuable piece for the future and a guy that will get even better over time. Having said that, if the right deal comes along, especially for a player the Bulls feel can make a difference on the perimeter, they will look long and hard at pulling the trigger. Nobody is quite sure what Asik's ceiling is at the moment but the organization knows that finding talented young big men is always difficult and they certainly won't give him up unless they get a difference maker in return.
12dESPN Stats & Information