I once watched an interview with Hank Azaria where he spoke about being a New York Jets fan. Although he didn’t say it in Chief Wiggum’s voice, the Simpsons’ voice actor extraordinaire said something I’ll never forget about rooting for a perpetual loser.
“The worst thing they can do is give you hope.”
Hope can be a terrible thing. It makes you hang onto lost causes because there is even the most unrealistic chance that it could work out.
“Hope” may be one of the greatest pop-punk songs of all-time, but I’ve seen some Pelicans’ bloggers and beat reporters already hold a lighter to the burnt spoon that was Omer Asik’s +10.2 net rating through the first 3 games this preseason — as well as a 12-14 performance from the free throw line or his 14 point, 14 rebound and 5 block showing against the Rockets in game one in China — and injecting the gateway to blowing spit bubbles uncontrollably in an abandoned rowhouse while trying to pick imagined bugs off of their skin as they are nodding out in a puddle of their own piss.
Omer Asik will not save you.
Don’t chase the Turkish dragon. It’s a dark spiraling cave that doesn’t reveal the majestic beasts from Game of Thrones, but a creature more like the dragon rollerblading flossing a barbed wire tattoo around his arm on the Ed Hardy t-shirt that the guy rocking Oakleys in the club and ordering a round of Jagerbombs while telling the cocktail waitress she should smile more is wearing.
Just like the extremely flawed but strangely attractive guy or girl you thought you could “fix” into a significant other — Omer isn’t worth the investment. You may get a few days of pure bliss, maybe even a stretch of 2 weeks in a row strung together like Christmas lights that mimic a meteor shower — which incidentally we saw from Asik in a very brief sputter in December. Asik looked like a good defender for a couple of moments last season, but mostly he was that ill-fitted significant other that has you putting cigarettes out on your hand, shooting well whiskey and muttering, “what the f**k was I thinking?” over and over again. This is what this preseason hope is going to do to you — keep swiping right.
In fairness to Omer, he has been a very good defender in the past. He is also a top-notch rebounder, even if at least 3 seemingly easy gifts slip right through his flipper-baby hands... This is where the compliments end.
For all of his defensive prowess and rebounding percentage ragers, he’s a slow-footed 30-year-old with a chronic back issue. It’s an issue that has rendered him terrible and embarrassing to watch when it flares up. It’s me trying to recreate a MC Escher tessellation with my left hand that is holding my severed drawing right hand that has a pencil duct taped to it. It’s unrecognizable and ugly. A total mess.
If healthy, Asik can have value on a team that runs at a much slower pace and that has enough offensive threats that his complete lack of skill on that end can be masked. However, having Omer Asik play big minutes on a team that wants to run, swing the ball around and field 2-way versatile players is like inserting Pee Wee Herman into an episode of Westworld — or Donald Trump into a presidential debate (too soon?).
Also, it’s clear that the slow big man era of basketball is over. Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are the future of what big men will be for at least a decade. Hopefully, an amnesty clause will be written into the new CBA so that we can divorce ourselves from this drunken night in Vegas drive-through marriage we’ve already invested too much time and money.
Until then, or until the time is right financially to stretch him, we should avoid forcing this miscast player into lineups just because we’ve paid him too much money. It’s clear that playing Davis at the 5 gives us the best chance to win. It keeps our best player near the rim where AD is at his best, and that will make everyone else on the court better. Having Asik on the floor forces the other big man to play on the perimeter, and allows defenders to sag off of him while our guards get seduced into sending perfect entry passes out of bounds off of his fingerless, spatula hands.
Don’t wait for Omer: