NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews May 29, 2009
[Read Full Article] European Roundup: Casspi Coming Along March 8, 2009 With Maccabi Tel Aviv failing to advance to the next round of the Euroleague, this is a good a time to evaluate the progress of their developing young star, Omri Casspi.
Now an 18-minute per game role player in the Euroleague (21 minutes in the local Israeli league), Casspi is clearly starting to find his niche in high-level European basketball, upping his scoring rate nicely while maintaining strong efficiency numbers, and continuing to make the full-time conversion to playing out on the wing. His team uses his mostly as an energy spark-plug off the bench: running the floor in transition, taking open spot-up jumpers, cutting off the ball for emphatic dunks, grabbing offensive rebounds and being active defensively.
Casspi has made strides with his perimeter jump-shot this season, converting on 17/44 attempts (39%) of his 3-pointers in the Euroleague and Israeli league combined, up from 30% last season. While his mechanics remain unorthodox (with a low release point and his elbow flailing out), he is shooting the ball confidently this season, getting his jumper off quickly and with a consistent release point, as long as his feet are set. Off the dribble, Casspiís poor mechanics hinder him from being much of a threat, which limits his offensive potential to a certain degree.
An average ball-handler at best, (particularly trying to change directions) Casspi is pretty limited as a pure shot-creator, although his athleticism and aggressiveness allow him to make plays at the rim regardless. He shows excellent scoring instincts, but still has a ways to go in terms of improving his all-around offensive polish. He can beat his man off the dribble with his quick first step, and loves to finish above the rim if given the opportunity to do so. Casspi plays with a great deal of energy, flying up the floor at the first sign of a fast break opportunity, often beating his man down the court and coming away with an easy basket as a result.
Casspi is a highly competitive player with shows a lot of emotion, not being afraid to go into the paint and come away with a tough basket, and doing a good job using his physical tools to try and help his team out, for example with his rebounding. Getting in the weight room and improving his frame would probably go a long ways, as his body doesnít look that much different than it did last year.
Defensively, Casspi continues to improve on this end of the floor, doing a very nice job putting his excellent physical tools (size, length, athleticism) to good use at the small forward position, and making some very impressive plays from time to time. He still is lacking somewhat in the fundamentals department, having a difficult time fighting through screens due to his lack of strength, and being a little bit over-exuberant in the passing lanes. Still, thereís no reason why he canít become a solid defender in time, especially thanks to his physical gifts and hard-nosed mentality.
Casspi still has another year of eligibility remaining before being automatically entered into the draft in 2010, but itís a given that he will declare once again this spring and try to find himself a spot in the first round. Unlike many European prospects these days, Casspi is completely enamored with the idea of playing (and especially being the first Israeli player) in the NBA, and would even reportedly be willing to sacrifice long-term financially in order to make that happen.
Still only 20 years old, Casspi appears to have excellent potential to continue to grow over the next few years, even if heís yet to show exactly how heíd be able to consistently earn minutes at the NBA level, as he lacks a true bread and butter. Itís possible that another year at Maccabi could allow him to really break out next season, but he may decide to stay in this yearís draft for good regardless. Unlike college players (who are bound by the more restrictive NCAA rules), international prospects like Casspi can pull out of the draft a second time before they become automatically eligibleómeaning heíll have plenty of options this coming June. [Read Full Article]
Roundup: The Rubio Show Marches On March 6, 2008 Itís been a troubled season both for Maccabi Tel Aviv (coach Kattash fired and way too many losses in the domestic front, the last one right this past weekend at home to Bnei HaíSharon) and also for Omri Casspi. The brightest Israeli promise has struggled to get playing time in Tel Aviv, which seems pretty logical if we consider that Maccabi is a true European powerhouse. However, heís just coming off his longest court-tenure in the Euroleague this season, precisely in a crucial victory against Real Madrid in the Top-16 stage that allowed Maccabi to clinch the first position in its group. Casspi stayed in the game for 24 minutes, and finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
A legit 6-9 combo forward, coach Sherf used him mostly as a small forward, but Omri often officiates as a power forward as well, as he proved in his previous outing against Hapoel Gilboa/Afula (scoring 20 points off the bench, by the way). Heís long, heís well built and heís also quick for his size. Actually, the biggest concerns about his ability to play small forward come from the defensive end, but heís showing a bit better lateral quickness and aggressiveness, staying closer to the ball (he used to rely more on his length to defend perimeter guys, conceding them too much space in order to prevent them from slashing past him). This is one of the main areas that coach Sherf has been helping him out the most actually, and he wouldnít be able to get minutes for the old-school conservative coach if he wasnít producing for him on this end.
Offensively weíre seeing mostly a face-up player, very incisive with the ball in his hands, but also active playing off the ball. Casspi enjoys nice ball-handling skills, a solid first step, and excellent footwork. He can attack both ways, and uses his body really well to work his way towards the basket. Heís an aggressive player with great body control, who doesnít fear contact at all. Against Real Madrid, he beat one of the best perimeter defenders in the Old Continent, Charles Smith, off the dribble, attacking him in a pure one-on-one situation with his left hand. Without the ball, Casspi actively cuts, often in back-door fashion, delivering mostly moves towards the basket. Following this trend (of activity without the ball and getting near the rim), he also emerges willing to clean the offensive boards looking for second-chance points, always trying to cash in off his superior size.
His shot isnít emerging as his best weapon at this point. Heís not looking very prolific or particularly effective. Casspi basically settles for spot-up three-pointers that heís not connecting on consistently. Confidence is an issue, but his the necessity to remain as efficient as possible in his overall game in order to receive playing time probably gets the upper hand here. For the moment, Casspi is sticking to his strengths, which means no wild off-the-dribble shots that we used to see him delivering in youth categories. Anyway, he is better off starting the build the house from the foundations up first, and work hard on his jumper to gain accuracy in those open treys that will allow him to keep defenses honest in the future.
As for the rest of his game, we should mention his devotion for the transition game (he loves to run the court, and eventually even while dribbling the ball) and the nice passing game heís showing, feeding the low post or recognizing cutters to pass to; nothing really outstanding, but nice stuff to round out his game.
In case anybody is still wondering, Casspi is still a very legit NBA prospect: the guy very talented, really competitive, and enjoys an intriguing physical profile. He needs to keep working on his game, on his defense and shooting stroke, continue being serious on the floor, and stay patient with both his playing time in Maccabi and a hypothetical desire of rushing an American adventure. [Read Full Article] Blogging Through Europe (Part 3: Italy) November 30, 2007 Besides Danilo Gallinari, there was another intriguing prospect on hand here in Milan, going by the name of Omri Casspi (click his name to read much more). The 6-8 athletic small forward is considered one of the best prospects Israel has produced in quite some time, but heís been struggling to get consistent playing time on this team after having a breakout season last year on loan with Galil Elyon (where he was coached by Maccabiís current coach Oded Kattash).
Casspi looked quite frustrated in his very short time (4 minutes) on the floor, and did not look particularly thrilled sitting on the bench either. His first possession in the game, he basically tripped over his own feet trying to guard Gallinari, but came back on the other end of the floor and had a nice dish to an open teammate after putting the ball on the floor with his left hand. He passed up an open 3-pointer on occasion (not his biggest strength), and had a very difficult time on the defensive end once again being matched up with Milano's beastish power forward Travis Watson, who got very physical with him. That was about all we saw from Casspi on the night.
It's not shocking that he isn't playing really, as he's extremely young and still a bit stuck between the 3 and 4 spots (certainly defensively) as this high a level. Maccabi knew this, though, but still demanded he return to the club this past summer and basically guaranteed heíd have a fixed spot in the rotation (probably to make sure he doesn't hurt them playing for some other team--the way he did last year with Galil). That doesnít seem to be the case right now, and itís a shame considering that heís only 19 years old and clearly needs to get as much playing time as possible. His father even went so far as to complain publicly in the media and threaten to have him leave the club if he doesnít start getting more minutes. We have Casspi projected as a late first round pick at the moment, but the circumstances seem to indicate that he will probably have to wait another season. [Read Full Article]
Douai Tournament, Gearing Up for Summer Competitions June 9, 2007 In these two days we spent in Douai, Omri Casspi clearly stood out among the rest both in terms of performance level and potential. Moreover, his Israeli remains as the only undefeated team in the competition after the huge opening victory against France and the more logical one against a nice squad such as Australia (it's also fair to mention that Israel and Germany are the only U-20 teams here, while the others settle for U-19 rosters). Israel is showing character, intensity, aggresiveness and smart basketball, just what you can usually expect out of them, and Casspi has led them with 21 points in each of both games.
Casspi emerges as a majestic presence on court. He is long, well built, fluid, athletic, while displaying a nice feel for the game-- a real pleasure for the eyes. We've found a more athletic Casspi than we remembered, really exhuberant going for the dunk. Of course, he keeps putting on a show on court with his expressive behaviour, wildly celebrating plays, complaining to the refs, really enjoying the spotlight.
Concerning his game, we first should explain that he played almost exclusively in the frontcourt as power forward or even center. As a result, Casspi was much more active than usual in the low post, not really exhibiting overly orthodox post moves there, but trying to use his quickness to get around his opponents, often atracting defensive rotations and effectively feeding the open man in the perimeter.
Not as prolific as in past occasions, Casspi still delivered a few excellent face-up drives showcasing his very solid ball-handling skills, footwork and ability to get the layup or finish over his rivals hanging up in the air. For a 6-9 forward, it's remarkable the ability he shows beating his match-ups on a regular basis. He also enjoyed some opportunities to shoot the ball, although he looked a bit streaky either in spot-up or off-the-dribble fashion, behind the arc or from the mid-range area.
Still a matter of concern is his defensive ability, particularly his defensive quickness, and this tournament hasn't helped us to solve any doubts. He matched up against bigger guys for the most part, so he didn't need to display his typical defense-- conceding space to the opponent and relying on his length to contest shots. We can do say that he worked pretty well and stayed active in this department. [Read Full Article] Nike Hoop Summit World Team Player Recap (Part One) April 11, 2007 The Israeli small forward came to Memphis just over a week after he led Galil Eliyon to an upset victory over European powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv in an Israeli league game. Casspi was ironically loaned to Galil from Maccabi at the beginning of the season, and will likely be returning there next year. With two seconds left in that game, he went to the coach during a timeout and asked for the ball which resulted in the game winning assist.
Throughout the week in practice, there were many great flashes of potential from Casspi in various aspects of the game. Despite his poor shooting mechanics, he knocked down some NBA range three pointers during the week, with a number of them coming in the two scrimmages. His consistency in this area will need to improve, and an adjustment to his form and release would help greatly.
Casspi possesses the athleticism to play the American game, and he made a number of creative slashing moves through the week to prove that. The ability to finish with either hand in traffic helps in this area, as does the good vertical leaping ability and the way he can take contact in the air. To further advance his game in this area, he will need to improve his creativity around the hoop.
An important area of Casspiís game goes unnoticed unless you have the opportunity to see him in person. Throughout the practices this week, he was the vocal leader on the floor, offering encouragement and guidance to his teammates, especially the ones who struggled to grasp the English language. When there was a mismatch on the floor or when his team needed a pick me up, Casspi was sure to announce it to his team. The coach for the World Select team named him captain of the team because of the leadership he displayed throughout the week.
In the game, Omri Casspi had the best individual stretch of any player during one particularly impressive sequence. After the international team started slow, Casspi provided a much needed burst of energy. With around 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter and the world team down 40-13, he used an isolation drive to the hoop to draw a foul on Kevin Love. On the next world team possession he took the ball to the basket in transition for a surprising dunk on Patrick Patterson. Casspi made his way back down the floor to play defense, and then stole the ball, taking it coast to coast and finishing with a reverse dunk. This stretch by the young Israeli boosted the international team beyond their slow start, and gave them the spark needed to eventually cut the lead to 10.
The rest of the game led to a few more nice flashes for Casspi, but nothing that stood out like his run in the second quarter. In transition, he dribbled the length of the floor and made a nice spin move away from the defender before stepping towards the basket and drawing a foul. He also made a nice floater from about 8 feet on a baseline drive.
Defensively, Casspi will need work on his positioning, though he plays with great effort. He has the tendency to overplay the ball too often, which makes it easier for quicker players to get past him.
At this point, there is a small chance Casspi could enter his name in the draft, but he would surely withdraw it without a promise. He has the potential to be a good all-around small forward in the NBA, but improvements to his shooting and defense will be necessary before this happens. Another year of progress in Israel could do wonders for developing Omri Casspiís game. [Read Full Article]
Nike Hoop Summit Practices-- World Team (Day 4) April 7, 2007 Omri Casspi again displayed some good potential, but struggled in the paint at times. Sometimes he gets caught in traffic with no place to go and this has led to a number turnovers over the past couple days. Casspi was knocking down the mid-range jumper today in the scrimmage, but his accuracy decreases when he tries to shoot off the dribble. In transition, the young Israeli has developed great chemistry with Nicolas Batum, and the two of them operated several fast breaks where the ball didnít touch the floor until after it had passed through the basket. He has the ability to have a good showing in the game tomorrow, and it will be interesting to see how his game translates against the U.S. high schoolers. [Read Full Article] Nike Hoop Summit Practices-- World Team (Day 3) April 6, 2007 Omri Casspi struggled with his shot during the morning practice at the Nike facility, but knocked down a number of threes in the scrimmage back at the Fedex Forum, including a couple from NBA range. The Israeli forward also made a nice play in transition by giving the ball up to Nicholas Batum early, and cutting right to the basket for an easy layup. He created a number of nice scoring opportunities off the dribble throughout the game but will need to work on finishing against more athletic players once he gets to the rim. At the basket, Casspi kept getting caught in the air with no place to go and this led to a number of forced layup attempts. Defensively, he played with great effort throughout the scrimmage, but he will need to stop gambling for steals so often, and getting caught out of position. [Read Full Article]
Nike Hoop Summit Practices-- World Team (Day 2) April 5, 2007 Omri Casspi played well again, though his jumper seems to come and go. He displayed very good athleticism a number of times, and touched the top of the square on the backboard with ease after practice. Casspiís ability to read the defense is coming along nicely. He recognizes the mismatches quickly during the drills, and tries to be vocal to his teammates about exploiting the mismatch. For the second day in row, Casspi was the last player working on his game after practice, spending more time with the coaches on his shooting mechanics. In some transition drills, Casspi was able to take the ball end to end and make a crafty left handed finish near the basket, and he also made some really nice passes on the break. Shooting will be a big question mark from the scouts here, but he has all the other tools to be an NBA player. [Read Full Article] Nike Hoop Summit Practices-- World Team (day one) April 3, 2007 Israeli small forward Omri Casspi also stood out during the scrimmages, scoring the majority of his points slashing to the hoop. His shooting mechanics could still use some improvement, and he put in some extra time after practice with the coaching staff working on shooting form. Casspiís feel for the game has progressed, and he made some very nice passes in traffic. Shot selection is still a work in progress for the young Israeli, though his slashing game appears to be a very good weapon at this point. [Read Full Article]
Roundup: Omri Casspi in a Heroic Victory over Maccabi March 28, 2007 Omri Casspi looked impressive while leading his team Galil Elyon to an upset victory over the powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, reason enough to grant him Player of the Week honours.
You can perfectly understand the immense joy showed by Galil players when the game finished, almost like they had just won a championship, given Maccabiís tyrannical dominance over the years in the domestic competition. They were in fact undefeated this season in the Israeli League. Casspi was particularly expressive, even during the game. Heís a hot-blooded player whose rights actually belong to Maccabi (heís loaned in Galil), which likely was extra motivation for him. He led his team in scoring with 17 points, adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He has scored in double digits in the last 7 games of the Israeli League, emerging as one of the currently best performers out of the 1988 international pool, only clearly behind Danilo Gallinari.
You have to love the passion and character Casspi showed in this game, even if he sometimes overreacts and acts a bit cocky. Heís actually a rather intense player, a fearless guy who rarely hides from responsibilities and loves to take the initiative. Itís pretty obvious just watching him grabbing a rebound and driving the ball to the offensive end with enormous confidence. Indeed his go-to move is pretty representative of that spirit, as heís first a terrific slasher. Itís truly very difficult to keep him out of the lane; as he enjoys a quick first step, very nice ball-handling skills, solid footwork, good use of his body, and all the determination to attack his rivals. Thatís remarkable for a 6-8 small forward like him. Maccabi players were hopeless trying to stop him, and he ended up forcing many fouls. Casspi is also becoming a solid shooter. He knocked down a couple of spot-up three-pointers and missed another one by a hair, and he now credits an excellent 45.7% from that range in the Israeli League this season. Heís effective off the dribble from the mid-range area, but wasnít lucky here in this game. We could also see him delivering a rather orthodox right-handed jump-hook that almost went in, which tells us about his scoring mentality and skill adaptability.
Above anything, Casspi looks extremely natural playing the game. The visual impression couldnít be better, as he enjoys an excellent frame and notable wingspan, so he leaves a mixed feeling of elegance and aggressiveness. Heís not an outstanding athlete, but is very fluid. Itís on defense where he suffers the most in this area. Heís aware of his limitations in terms of lateral quickness and prefers to concede space to his match-ups, risking easy shots, in order to prevent them from slashing. Still, heís rather active on team defense and rebounding. He enjoys a nice basketball IQ, although he sometimes gets caught up in the fire of the game and eventually forces some plays. Just like it happened to him right after surprisingly blocking Nikola Vujcic, as he tried to complete the humiliation on the offensive end by attacking the Croatian center one-on-one in the first seconds of the possession, resulting in a very bad shot.
Anyway, Casspi might potentially be a first-round pick, and weíll be following him closely. Particularly next week in the Nike Hoop Summit. [Read Full Article] Blogging Through Israel (part four) November 16, 2006 Omri Casspi played a good game for Galil, but all of his scoring came in the second and third quarters. Casspi made a turnover early in the game followed by a missed defensive rotation, so he was pulled after two minutes. He didnít seem to be affected by his slow start when he re-entered the game at the 5:51 mark in the second quarter. Unable to finish on a nice drive to the left, he was able to get his own rebound and put the ball back into the hoop. Casspi also displayed the ability to create off the dribble when he jabbed left, took a dribble to the right, crossed back over, and made a mid-range jumper. His shooting mechanics arenít the best, but his release is consistent and his shot goes in more often than not. He could help himself by releasing the ball a little bit higher and adding a little more elevation to his jump shot. Casspi made some nice drives to the basket, and does a good job controlling himself in the paint. On one drive he went left all the way to the basket, and brought the ball back to the right side and made a layup right under the defenderís arm. Omri displays good instincts when it comes to basketball, but will need to learn how to operate better within the flow of an offense. [Read Full Article]
Blogging Through Israel (part one) November 7, 2006 Omri Casspi didnít have a great game, though you can easily tell why heís an NBA draft prospect. Heís about 6í8Ē with a good frame, and a long wingspan. He was originally developed to play the power forward position, but 2 years ago the decision was made that his future would be brighter as a small forward. Athletically, Casspi is smooth, and very coordinated, especially with his ball handling. He was able to penetrate into the paint numerous times off the dribble, and created some very easy baskets for him teammates in doing so. Sometimes international prospects get the reputation for being soft, but this isnít the case with Casspi at all. Numerous times in the game he fought against much larger players in the paint. On one occasion he kept a big center off the boards with his body, and then elevated over him for an offensive rebound. Despite the fact that heís still learning to play the small forward position, he has a very good feel for the game, and is often in the right place at the right time on the court. On the defensive end, Casspi moves his feet well, and can usually stay with opposing wing players, but he struggles to get up close to the defender and apply lockdown pressure, especially when trying to full court press. In zone defense, he was always able to be in the right position to help teammates and get rebounds. Casspi finished the game with 23 minutes, 5 points 1/2 from 2, 1/1 from the 3 point line, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover and 1 blockóvery much below average by his standards. [Read Full Article] U-18 European Championship Prospects: The Wings September 13, 2006 Casspiís impressive outing in Mannheim wasnít a fluke, and he certainly proved to have made strides since his average showings last summer. On a team that lacked some brains in the backcourt, he assumed the go-to role with intriguing although not always good results.
He now looks like much more of a natural perimeter player than last year. He might still not be a top-notch athlete, he might still suffer defensively against quick wings, but his skill set has evolved in the right direction. Itís really remarkable his ability to step into the lane dribbling past his defender. Showing very nice ball-handling skills, including a very effective crossover move, he gets by his rival after unbalancing him. But he also shows a nice first step and very good footwork to approach the basket, while his size, strength, body control and ability to convert layups do the rest. Those skills wouldnít mean that much without the confidence and aggressiveness he shows (he eventually looks for contact penetrating), which make him succeed on a regular basis attacking the basket.
Although still inconsistent, his jumper is another source of consistent and versatile production. Casspi enjoys a wide array of releasing options, including range out to the three-point line, off-the-dribble skills, fade-away fashion, nice catch-and-shoot ability coming off a cut or the step-back jumper. However, and especially when shooting from the perimeter, his mechanics still could use some more consistency that would significantly help his accuracy. From mid-range distance, he sometimes knocks down shots so confidently and well-executed that you think he could never miss. He can eventually take advantage of his size and good strength in the low post against smaller defenders, even showing a decent semi-hook shot.
A smart player with a good feel for the game, he easily finds his teammates on the court beyond finding his own scoring options. Intense, aggressive, he shows plenty of character playing the game. He works well on defense and stays alert to the passing lines, although his lateral quickness is just average for a small forward, drawing concerns about his ability to stay in front of quick wings. A nice rebounder, he uses his length, strength and athleticism well. All in all, heís a guy willing to do the little obscure things. Pair these characteristics with his skill set, and we have a guy set to succeed at least at the European stage. [Read Full Article]
2006 Albert Schweitzer Tournament: Top Prospects May 8, 2006 It looks pretty obvious, if his team doesnít cut his wings with too little playing time, that he will be a star in the international scene, particularly in Europe. He dominates almost every department of the offensive game. He particularly stands out for being a great perimeter shooter, and has the strength and ability to post up any shorter matchup. He has an excellent vertical leap and, especially, star potential. We will hear a lot from him in the future. He was named to the all-tournament team.
Physical and Mental Characteristics:
From not having a ripped body at all just one year ago, heís evolved into a very explosive player physically speaking. Thereís no baby fat left in his body and he has outstanding explosiveness in his legs. An excellent vertical leaper, he gets up really high. He has very long arms. Mentally, heís tough. He almost always stays focused, although occasionally he loses some concentration when he has bad shooting streaks; nothing that wonít be able to fix with experience, though. Very coachable, just as all his teammates, he never makes a bad gesture to anybody. He doesnít seem to be a primadonna, even if heís clearly the teamís star. Heís the kind of hungry player that never avoids responsibility when it comes to deciding games.
Heís one of the players that offensively will make the difference whenever he plays. Very good perimeter shooter, he could develop into an extraordinary one in the future, or thatís the impression he draws, because of his self-improving ability. He drives really well by the baseline. But especially, considering the height he enjoys, heís an extremely quick player. He reads the passing lanes really well on defense, getting a lot of steals that he usually finishes himself thanks to his explosiveness, his great handle on the run and, particularly, an unusual balance while in the air. As fast as he might be running the break, he will always catch the pass if heís bound to receive it, and will almost never lose the ball because of a bad dribble if heís driving. He almost always transforms the fastbreak into two points because he never loses balance. And if thereís somebody standing in front of him, he will just eat him alive, literally. He also knows how to pass the ball in transition, enjoying a very accurate bounce pass. I insist: he can become one of the great European perimeter shooters in the future.
Like many of the great scorers weíve known, heís not a devoted defender. He has problems on the strong side, while showing much more ability in the weak side, thanks to his intelligence. He has neither a great rebounding mentality, particularly on the offensive glass, among other reasons, because he plays very open.
One of the best players in this tournament, he dominates almost all departments. He prefers to shoot rather than slash. His shooting range is very deep, showing accuracy from long distance. Heís more of a finisher in one-on-one plays rather than a pick-and-roll player, although he feels comfortable there too. He barely put in practice the entry pass, because the Israeli big men werenít a serious threat, so thereíre doubts about his ability there. Heís skilled slashing towards the basket, and dominates the short-range jumper off the penetration as well as attacking the basket and forcing fouls, which he usually does.
Heís a player that stays away from his man. First, because with his size and long arms he can contest his matchupís shot. And second, because heís not a very dedicated player; being beaten by quicker opponents, precisely because he lets them start moving. He feels much more comfortable in the weak side. There, to stay away from his man is justified. But heís always on the alert, being difficult to beat with a back-door cut. Since he feels very well the passes coming from the strong side, he usually reacts explosively getting the steal, which he transforms in two points almost always.
He will probably have the chance to play in the NBA because of his great talent, although I donít predict a great future for him there, if he tries. But he can be a star in European basketball. Thereís only one problem: the next 2-3 years will be decisive on his career, and he will need playing time to develop. Maccabi Tel Aviv might not be the team that guarantees him those minutes. A future European star might get struck down mid-way precisely for that reason. [Read Full Article] The European Junior (U-18) Championships: The Power Forwards August 29, 2005 Out of the combo forwards that weíre including in this article, Casspi looks like the least athletically gifted to play small forward at a top level, even if thereís certainly hope for him. Standing somewhere between 6-8 and 6-9, he only displays average athleticism for a three, while still not enjoying a refined perimeter game.
Omri is rather strong for his age, showing quite a good frame, and like most players coming from Israel, heís rather aggressive in certain situations. He loves to attack the basket, whether after receiving the ball in the high post or starting himself from the perimeter. He can put the ball on the floor with both hands and features nice footwork in the slashing movement. He doesnít fear physical contact at all, having the ability to finish himself against opposition, but also to dish to an open teammate or deliver a mid-ranger off the dribble. However, Casspi is not particularly consistent with his jumper. Enjoying three point range, although only in static fashion, he doesnít look really fluid with his mechanics.
On defense, he didnít suffer too much trouble quickness-wise, but playing in the paint he was rarely matched against perimeter players. Itís not clear if he features good enough lateral movement to keep it up against quicker small forwards. Having to battle in the paint full time, he was reliable in the rebounding department, especially if you consider his youth.
What was missed from Casspi was some more consistency in his game. For some stretches he was totally a non factor, when he was clearly the most important player of Israel besides Ohayon. On the other hand, he showed nice understanding of the game. All in all, we were expecting a little more out of him, particularly in terms of potential. [Read Full Article]