NBA: Casspi rested for just third time this season

Omri Casspi didn’t appear in a Sacramento Kings game for just the thirdtime this season on Sunday, with coach Paul Westphal choosing to restthe Israeli rookie, for the first time since December 8.
Casspi has exceeded all expectations in his first season in the NBA,averaging 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while cementing hisplace as one of the best rookies in the league.
However, in his past seven games he has averaged just 6.5 points, while shooting only 38 percent (19 of 50) from the field.
“I think that it’s been pretty evident, not only in the games, but inour practices as well that Omri is really winding down his battery, sowe’re trying to help him recharge it a little bit, just give him somerest,” Westphal said after leaving Casspi out of Sacramento’s 108-102defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“We’re very, very high on Omri and I think that he’s a big part of ourfuture. I do think that it’s going to be important for him in thisoffseason to pick up probably 10 pounds and maybe a little bit more andreally work on his stamina. He’s never been through anything like thisbefore and I think you can see it, that he doesn’t quite have the motorthat he had earlier.”
Casspi and Westphal had a brief-but-heated exchange in January, withthe forward fuming after being taken out of a game. However, the coachsaid that Casspi took his latest decision well.
“He was respectful,” Westphal said. “He didn’t try very hard to talk meout of it. I think he probably knows that he needs some rest, but hewasn’t jumping up and down, either.”