During the off-season, the Chicago Bulls lost Omar Asik, the center of the bench mob, to the Houston Rockets. While his departure left a void at the position, it was quickly filled when they signed Nazr Mohammed to a 1-year $3.75 million contract.
This season however, he dons a new uniform and brings his consistent defense and accurate mid-range jumper to Chicago.
Mohammed brings many things to the Bulls, but none more important than the veteran leadership that he can provide to younger guys like Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose; who he says is much like the Thunders superstar Kevin Durant both on and off the court.
But besides his knowledge of the game, he is in Chicago to play as a role player and he knows that, his role is to become the new center of the 2012 version of the bench mob or rather he is the backup center behind starter Joakim Noah.
Asik was a valuable center, his ability to cover any position on defense as well as stay with smaller, quicker guards was an asset that Chicago will miss but what Mohammed brings to the table is more than enough to help Chicago forget about their loses.
Mohammed had a rough season last year with the Thunder averaging only 2.6 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game but when those numbers are compared to his 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during this pre-season it is clear that Mohammed is looking to improve on his numbers from last year and prove himself as a reliable center.
When Mohammed was signed, coach Tom Thibodeau expected a lot from him, he expected him to fill the hole left by Asik’s departure and he expected him to put up the numbers he did in his first season in Oklahoma City. So far, Thibodeau has said that Mohammed is performing exactly like he expected him to.
If Mohammed continues to improve on his preseason numbers as well as establish himself as a veteran leader to the younger players, there is no question that Chicago will forget about their lose of Asik and focus on the arrival of Mohammed.