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Getting To Know Omri Casspi

As you know, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a deal with the Sacramento Kings right before the NBA went into a lockout. The deal sent J.J. Hickson to Sacramento and the Cavs acquired forward, Omri Casspi and a future, conditional first round pick from the Kings. Since I admittedly did not watch or study much of Casspi's game while he played for the Kings, the guys over at Sactown Royalty were nice enough to fill us in. Today, Aykis16 brings us an player profile of our newest Cavalier. Be sure to check out Sactown Royalty in the future to check up on how Hickson is doing in his new colors. Here you go:


Omri Casspi is a very interesting player.  Back in 2009, I thought Casspi was a great sleeper pick sometime later in the first round and was thrilled when the Kings drafted him 23rd overall.  To me, Casspi was our Small Forward of the future, the return of Peja Stojakovic.  Alas, despite a great start in his rookie year, it wasn't meant to be.  This doesn't mean that Casspi can't still become Cleveland's SF of the future though.

There were a lot of reasons it didn't work for Casspi in Sacramento.  The main reason though was inconsistency.  Coming into the 2010-11 season, Coach Westphal left the starting SF spot up for grabs between Donté Greene and Omri Casspi.  Greene came into camp way out of shape, so the spot was Casspi's to lose.  Unfortunately, Casspi wasn't consistent enough to keep his spot, particularly defensively.  He was also disgruntled at having a diminished role in the team's offense.  Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins both demanded and got a lot of touches, while Casspi would wait impatiently on the wings and often not receive the ball, despite being open.  I can see why he was a bit miffed.  

The situation is much different in Cleveland however.  Baron Davis and Kyrie Irving are both true point guards instead of hybrids like Tyreke Evans.  Omri also has little competition for the SF spot in Cleveland (sorry Joey Graham).  On offense, Casspi's best attribute is his three point shooting.  He has a weird looking shot, kind of like Shawn Marion's, but he hits threes at a decent clip, right around 37%.  He's also very quick and athletic and loves running down the court on fastbreaks.  He's more explosive than he looks to, and while he'll never win any dunk contests, he'll dunk quite a bit.  On the other side of the ball, perhaps his best attribute is his defensive rebounding, where he's very good for a Small Forward.

His weaknesses are a bit more varied.  If you take a look at his FG% shot areas from Hoopdata here, you can see that aside from right at the rim or from 3 point range, Casspi is pretty inefficient.  He really needs to develop that mid-range game instead of just the spot-up three.  Casspi also isn't that great of a ball handler, so driving to the basket is a problem for him unless he has an open lane.  Defensively, he's plays tough and scrappy, but doesn't move his feet quick enough and so isn't all that effective.  He's also pretty thin still so he has problems with bigger players.  The good news however is that Casspi knows that defense is his biggest weakness and has said to the media that Defense and getting stronger would be his main focus in the offseason.

You have yourselves an intriguing young player in Casspi, Cavs fans.  He could end up being nothing more than a role player, but I think he has the pride, drive and work ethic to become more one day.  He's a passionate player, and very aware of the fact that he's an ambassador for his country, with all the eyes of Israel on him.  You should like him. 


You can read more of Aykis16's writing at Sactown Royalty and you can follow him on Twitter here