"In the second installment of our “Who Gets the Crown?” series, A Royal Pain editor Tony Xypteras takes a look at one of the more intriguing roster questions heading into the offseason. Omri Casspi or Derrick Williams, Who Gets the Crown? You can find Kyle Robert’s analysis of the shooting guard battle right here."
With both DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay in and out of the lineup over the last month of the regular season, there hasn’t been a lot of high-level talent on the court for Sacramento. It’s a sound game plan, as painful as it can be to watch. Cousins and Gay are awarded with some much-needed rest, and George Karl gets an opportunity to take a look at some of the role players on this roster before decided on their status next season. Two of the players benefitting most from the last several weeks are Omri Casspi and Derrick Williams.
Casspi and Williams have thrived in Karl’s system. You could argue that both players are playing the best basketball of their careers.
Post All-Star Break –
Casspi – 26.7 MPG / 11.2 PPG / .475 FG% / .462 3P% / 4.6 REB / 2.0 AST
Williams – 22.8 MPG / 10.8 PPG / .453 FG% / .344 3p% / 2.8 REB / 0.9 AST
Karl even granted Casspi a spot in the starting lineup because of his consistent play, and he’s been fantastic since.
Post All-Star Break (Starter)
Casspi – 31.1 MPG / 15.1 PPG / .533 FG% / .523 3P% / 4.5 REB / 2.4 AST
Rumors and speculation suggest that the Kings are going to overhaul their roster yet again this offseason, and that leaves Casspi and Williams’ futures in Sacramento in serious jeopardy. Both players will be free agents at the end of the season, and with roster space limited, signing one or both of them will slightly limit the Kings flexibility moving forward.
Realistically speaking, the Kings could keep one of them. In fact, they probably should keep one of them. I cannot see a scenario where both players are retained, but stranger things have happened.
I have tried to keep some level of objectivity going for the earlier stages of this column, but it’s time to throw that out the window.
Omri Casspi is the pick here, and despite what some of the post All-Star break numbers might tell you, I don’t think it’s that close.
Williams is still wildly inconsistent. He’s still sort of stuck between positions. He doesn’t have the strength to defend the post, or the desire to defend the perimeter. I used the word desire there because he should have the athleticism to defend small forwards or stretch fours, but he’s just not good at it. I can only blame his desire to do so. I don’t know what else it could be. Casspi isn’t an amazing defender, but he’s much better than Williams from a positioning standpoint more than anything else. Casspi generally knows where to be and when to be there, and that is half the battle.
Casspi isn’t without faults. In the interest of fairness, they both have some issues with shot selection, but Williams is a lot more frustrating in this regard. When Casspi takes what I would consider a ‘bad shot’, it’s usually a three-pointer, or a forced take to the basket. I can live with that. A Derrick Williams bad shot is usually a mid range jumper or a fade away post jumper. Even if it goes in, it’s just bad basketball.
Casspi also brings more to the table offensively. He’s one of the best off the ball movers / cutters on the roster. He’s always moving. He’s tremendous at running the floor in transition. He shot a career high .402 from three this season. He’s developed into a legitimate floor spreader. The ball rarely sticks in his hands. His style promotes ball movement, which is why I have been waiting to see him in the startling lineup all season. You can’t say that about Williams.
Why is this even a debate? It’s pretty simple, really. Williams still carries that ‘he was the 2nd overall pick!’ reputation. It’s definitely starting to wear off, but he’s only 23 years old. You can still see very rare glimpses of the player he could have been. He’s going to be in the league next season. I have no doubt about that.
So why isn’t Casspi returning a sure thing? I can’t really answer that. In my mind, it should be a sure thing. In my mind, it’s a no brainer.
People who have real sources do not think Casspi will be back next season. When CarmichaelDave talks about stuff going on inside the Kings organization, I listen. He has an amazing track record. There is no doubting that.
As James Ham wrote at Cowbell Kingdom a few days ago, Casspi really, really wants to be here. Sacramento isn’t what I would consider a preferred destination for a lot of NBA players. Casspi is a rare breed.
"“I love it here. I want to come back here. My agent knows that. I know that. I love it here.” – Omri Casspi"
Who gets the crown? This one is easy. Omri Casspi. Bring him back. It’s as simple as that.
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