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Omer Asik wants to just defend, rebound. Which is just fine with Anthony Davis.

New Orleans Hornets v Houston Rockets

New Orleans Hornets v Houston Rockets

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New Orleans made one of the best free agent pick ups of the summer in Omer Asik (who they got from Houston for a song).

Anthony Davis is ready to make another leap, this time clearly into the NBA’s elite. But to do that he needs a guy next to him who can handle some of the dirty work. Enter Asik.

Davis and Asik when head-to-head when the USA took on Turkey at the World Cup and apparently Asik spoke with Davis and Pelican’s coach Monty Williams (who was a Team USA assistant), reports Jim Eichenhofer of the Pelicans’ official Web site.

That’s what the Pelicans wanted from him.

What Asik has wanted is a chance to start and to get some touches — with the Pelicans he should get both. He will not be a primary offensive option but as teams focus on Davis and Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon Asik will get some favorable match ups to exploit. He’ll get his buckets.

Everything is poised for the Pelicans to make a leap this year, to be a team that could make the playoffs even in the deep West. First, they have to stay healthy.

Then the key is the defense, which was bottom five in the league last year and needs to make the leap.

Asik being a force in the paint (along with Davis) is central to that. Monty Williams playing a system that better fits his personnel defensively is part of that. If it doesn’t come together somebody should be in trouble.