Golden State Warrior’s Omri Casspi, the only Israeli player in the league, is currently playing in the 9th season of his NBA career.
Known for his 3-point stroke in the past, Casspi has reinvented his game in 2017 thriving off slicing cuts, transition points, and high-percentage shots in the uptempo Dubs offense. Casspi has done a nice job filling in for Durant in the starting unit…
He is having the most efficient year of his career shooting 59% from the field and 63% from 3 (in only 0.5 attempts per game). He is also proving to be a plus-defender, averaging a career-high 0.6 blocks per game for the league leaders in that category(8.9).
Career: 8.2 PPG, 1.2 AST, 4.1 RPG, 0.6 STL, 0.2 BLK, 45% FG, 37% 3FG
17/18: 5.8 PPG, 1.0 AST, 3.8 RPG, 0.4 STL, 0.6 BLK, 59% FG, 63% 3FG
Following a 110-95 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, the Warriors treated a select group of fans to a “Chalk Talk” with Jim Barnett and Omri Casspi.
Here are some of the highlights from Casspi’s 15 minute conversation with the Warriors’ TV Analyst…
Jim Barnett: What adjustments did you have to make to come over here and live after your life in Israel?
“Well I had just finished my military service and I served for 3 years in the Israeli army. At the time the biggest change was just, different country, different language and and speaking a lot of English. I was 21 at the time and it was a Northern town so I had to transition into everything else but on the court the game was different, faster, better, the guys are great and I had to adjust to everything in the NBA.”
What team matchups are you most looking forward to?
“It’s always extra motivation against your former team, uhh it will be different, you know Sacramento when you’ve been there 5 years, that’s a lot of your time and their time so always going to be a little extra motivation when you play against your former team.”
I know it’s a requirement to do two years, how long were you in the army?
“I served 3 years.”
Were you playing basketball at the time?
“Ya, I was doing basic training for about a month a half, and after that I got a special permission from the army to play basketball so once a year there’s one basketball player a year that gets special benefits to get to go to practice and games, at the time I was fortunate to get that opportunity and I was able to play at the time.”
When you play was that professional?
So you were making money from the army and basketball?
“Well, not really. When you were in the army here you make money, but I was there for three years and made about $1,000.”
What do you like to do in your Spare Time?
“Hang out at the house with my wife, daughter now, you know we will go to Walnut Creek a lot to walk around… Play playstation, always do that when I have extra time. Play with Klay a lot, Draymond, the guys, so it’s fun.”
Is there a significance to wearing #18?
“Number 18 means life in Hebrew and I have been brought up with it 9 years now and it’s about a continuation of life. And its something resembles my culture and stood out for me.”
A few years ago, Chandler Parsons, I think Demarcus Cousins, who you played tonight, took a group over to Israel, and I read about it, and it was something that you wanted them to understand what Israel was like because maybe Americans dont have a your view, can you expand on that?
“Well I wanted, first of all, so many times over the year I get to travel and some of my teammates are showing me their hometowns and I never have a chance to pay it back and it was really the first time. I took a group of guys to my side of the world, Middle East show them my family and friends…”
“Im really glad for NBA Cares in my hometown and all that it does for kids from the Israeli community, kids from the Palestinian community, kids from the Jewish community and we just played so much with the community and I felt it was great for these kids who don’t really get the chance to see NBA players come back and see how come they are stars they are. and to see that is just awesome.”
What are you thinking when you come into a game off the bench?
“Well there are certain things that I try to do each night that doesn’t take way from the team schemes and everything else, so bring energy, sometimes we are playing great and I want to keep that energy going and sometimes we could be struggling and I want to bring energy and change things around.I feel like it’s a talent in the NBA and there not a lot of guys have that naturally and I feel like I’m coming off the bench it’s one of things I want everybody to know…”
“Mentally, going into a game I feel like I want to be aggressive and stuff like really rebound the ball and then things flow better for me and for the team and just make the smart play on offense.”
How did you develop your high arc on your three point shot?
“Well, the past four five years I changed it a little bit I shoot a little differently now, high arching, and something that I focus on the right angle on the ball when I shoot.”