Casspi comes alive in fourth quarter of Kings' debut
Scoring only 6 points, Israeli rookie also makes three assists, one rebound, a block and five turnovers, but has the two best passes of the day.
By JOSEPH D. ROBBINS, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPODENT
July 12, 2009 05:24
2 minute read.
Omri Casspi smiling 248.88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
PALO ALTO, California - Hours removed from signing his first NBA contract, Omri Casspi took the court wearing number 18 amid cheers from the Las Vegas crowd as the Sacramento Kings took on the Detroit Pistons in the Summer League.
While he looked confident, Casspi was understandably rusty after not being able to practice the entire week while waiting for his clearance papers from Maccabi and FIBA.
Although his play during the first three quarters was about as lackluster as his statistics during the same stretch, Casspi came alive in the fourth quarter as the Kings lost its opening game of the league 86-77.
They were due to play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday in the second game.
Casspi only finished with six points on three of eight shooting to go along with three assists, one rebound, a block and five turnovers, but he had the two best passes of the day with a pair of inside dishes off of drives that turned into monster jams by his teammates.
Casspi also notched four points on a couple of long jumpers in the fourth that showed off his shooting stroke, in addition to fighting for a tough rebound in a crowd of better-positioned players.
As much as his first three quarters of NBA action showed the rust that comes with not being able to practice a new system before being thrown into it, Omri Casspi's fourth quarter showcased all of the reasons he was deserving of being a first-round selection in this year's Draft.
Casspi hustled and was vocal throughout, directing his teammates and calling out plays whenever possible. He had some nifty passes that set up plays for teammates, and he orchestrated a strong inbounds play that led to his first NBA points in the second quarter.
Additionally, Casspi showed a strong attitude and good resolve by playing hard in a game that his team had been out of from the start. This competitiveness earned him respect from commentator and former NBA player Antonio Harvey for the way he was "grinding out the game."
Although his statistics do not show much from a game that he undoubtedly will be upset with Casspi's first encounter with NBA basketball showed off the potential that makes him such a valuable asset. Even when his game was off, the intangibles and high basketball I.Q. that rounds out his skill-set carried him through, and showed that he belonged on the court.
Look for Casspi to bounce back and continue to improve as he settles into his new jersey, and grows more comfortable with his teammates.