Posted by: natehughart | November 4, 2009

The difference between Spencer Hawes and Omri Casspi starting

There is going to be a massive argument that if Hawes should start, why not Casspi? And, while I understand the argument, I simply don’t agree.

We’re talking about 2 different players at 2 different stages of their career at the moment.

The Kings need Hawes to start. He’s the best C on the roster. (The only real C, but whatever.) It’s really that simple. Sean May, whatever he exactly is, is not a C.

It’s really not that complicated, or even worth explaining why Hawes needs to start at C. Clearly he belongs as the starter, and PW was waiting for Hawes to get his ass in gear. (Shocking.)

On the other hand, you have the possibility of Omri Casspi starting (and it’s not a possibility right now), and you have many people simply clamoring for this to happen.

If Desmond Mason starts, and it’s possible that he may not start vs Atlanta tonight, it’s not about whether Omri Casspi starts or not.

Omri Casspi starting means that he brings something to the table every night vs every opponent. Until he shows that he can do that consistently (and it’s not like PW will say no to Omri Casspi starting at the SF spot if he has clearly out-shined Nocioni or Mason), and not just be a fan favorite 4 games into the season, it makes little difference.

I’m not arguing that Casspi can’t start at some point. In fact, I think he may become the long term starter at SF for the Kings. I wouldn’t have a problem with that if Casspi’s ball-handling and defense against the high end SF’s of the NBA (there are too many to name) improves as the seasons, and years, go forth.

The reality is that 4 games into his career Casspi isn’t necessarily ready to start, but that’s not the real issue.

Right now Omri Casspi can give more by giving energy and shooting off the bench. Further, because it looks like Andres Nocioni will start, and it seems to me that PW will keep that lineup if he’s going to change it now at this point of the season, it makes even more sense that Casspi wouldn’t start.

Any lineup that has Desmond Mason on the court will need perimeter shooting to maximize his effectiveness. I also think that with Spencer Hawes entering the lineup, PW will feel less of a need to start Mason because Hawes and Thompson can facilitate the offense (along with Martin), and this will in turn reduce the amount of pressure the team is putting on Tyreke Evans to facilitate. Whatever people have to say about Mason elsewhere, he was responsible for a fair share of ball movement when minutes came the cagey veteran’s way.

I have no problem with Mason starting, or Andres Nocioni, but Casspi doesn’t effectively do the facilitating portion of the offense quite yet. It’s something he needs to improve at, and frankly it’s something that needs to improve on Tyreke Evans part. Until one of those 2 things changes, it’s going to be nearly impossible for the offense to get quality shots through ball movement because there aren’t enough players on the court who will pass the ball willingly. If you have 5 players on the court who need to shoot shots to be effective offensively, that’s not going to work given how good defense at the NBA level is.

And that essentially is the problem with Casspi. In 84 mins, Bomb-ri has 2 assists. In 62 mins, Desmond Mason has 2 as well.

I’m not saying assists count as a recognition of ball movement. But, it’s not what Casspi does well right now, and for that to improve is what it would take for Casspi to be the starting SF for PW in my view. And for someone who can pass the ball the way Casspi certainly can, there is no doubt in my mind Bom-ri would have more than 2 assists right now.

Right now I think Omri Casspi has earned 20 min’s off the bench depending on the matchup’s. He can’t play PF (he’s more of a SG/SF combo), and he’s not as effective defensively as Desmond Mason is at the moment.

I think, though, that Kings fans are ultimately missing the real point with regards to Omri: As the 23rd pick of the draft, he has forced his way into the rotation and making PW play him min’s. Fan favorite or not, Bom-ri has produced at the junctures he’s needed to justify in PW’s mind that he should be getting the minutes he’s gotten up to this point. Omri is neither over his head or ready for more. Until he adds those skills, he’s going to be a fan favorite of fans who won’t exactly get why Omri Casspi doesn’t start.

On the other hand, Omri has been very successful, and has opened eyes already. The successful training camp (the best of anyone on the Kings by many accounts), Bom-ri’s 2 good shooting games vs OKC & Memphis, and the energy he displayed in the home opener are all terrific things to have.

That energy that he brings, the sharp-shooting quick release Bom-ri are highly useful skills in the NBA, and incredibly wonderful luxury to have on the bench. That’s exactly why Omri is coming off the bench right now. (It makes the Kings better as a team. That’s the goal, no?) What he provides is exactly what the Kings need off the bench. What Casspi doesn’t provide is what he needs to improve on in order to become a starter at SF. And, this is the point: If Omri improves those things to become the starter at SF, you are looking at a high performing squad that balances it’s strengths with it’s weaknesses well. There is another way to describe this: With Omri starting, I have no doubt that the Kings could be a 50 win squad.

So, like with most things, just be fucking patient morons Kings fan.


Responses

  1. Still in the middle of my feticism for AK47 yesterday I realized one thing: we don’t need Kirilenko, because we have the one player that mostly resembles his skills in my opinion.

    If Casspi continues to show this development could easily become the next Kirilenko, without the PF skills but with more SG skills.
    I’m very fine with PW playing him from the bench because I think he still has a lot to learn and starting him may in some way ruin his will to develop his skills.

    • Maybe this analogy will help Panzer. (Nice comment btw. I do agree that AK47 & Bom-ri have similar styles as players.)

      Casspi is a 5 right now as a player. Think of that as his building block. To be a starter, he needs to be a 7, and getting to 6 and then 7 will be tougher than it ever was getting to 5.

      He came into training camp as a 3 block, and has shown PW already that he will be a consistent rotation contributor. Now the next step needs to be made, and given that he jumped 2 blocks up by 4 games in the regular season says quite a bit about Omri.

      But, patience yall. All I’m saying.

      • I see him being able to do a Kirilenko-like breakout season in 2011-2012 if everything goes well.

        The bad news is that we can’t call him AK47, because:
        a. his name doesn’t begin with an A
        b. his family name doesn’t begin with a K
        c. his number is not 47
        d. he’s not Russian

        the only way to solve this problem is to call him UZI…still quite kickass (not as much as AK47 but still far better than “the Big Cactus” or every nickname adopted by Shaq in his career).

        • LOL @ the 4 reasons. Nice Panzer.

  2. I could easily live with Uzi, in fact I like it. I still think that Bom-ri works the best because I don ‘t know about you but I can’t type Cassipi on the Glassapi during a game thread.

    Jerry mentioned a comparison with Shaun Marrion last night and I think that kind of works as well.

    If you want to use your number analogy I think that what Bom-ri has done is to show PW and the FO that he is capable of becoming a 7 or better. If he is going to be as I (and many others) think he will be, he’s going to get his starting minutes. In my view, whether he starts this season or next, or even the season after that is immaterial. If he continues to develop PW will not be able to keep him on the bench any more than he can keep Kevin from starting.

    • Funny you mention Marion BJ. I was listening to that, and I was thinking that Bom-ri reminds me somewhat in style of Shawn Marion with a Shane Battier type of overall game.

      If that makes any sense.


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