Grade Report: Omri Casspi In The Starting Lineup

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When Willie Cauley-Stein went down with a finger injury in the game against the Boston Celtics, fans had questions on which player would replace him in the starting lineup.

The top three candidates that seemed to have the highest chances were Quincy Acy, Kosta Koufos, and Omri Casspi. George Karl decided to go with Casspi, and for the last 8 games he has remained the starter. With that being said, what grade has Omri deserved so far for being a starter this season?.

Omri Casspi has shown this season that his of efficiency has remained constant whether he is starting games or coming off the bench. His numbers though have gotten better as a starter, averaging 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds a game in the 10 games he has started this season. All of this while shooting 49.5% from the field and 46.7% from the perimeter. As a reserve, Casspi has averaged 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest, with a FG% of 51.1% and a 3P% of 43.4%.

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A reason for his stats gradually increasing is probably due to him gaining more playing time when implemented with the starting five. In games where Casspi is starting he is averaging 34.2 minutes a contest, a significant increase compared to averaging just 25.4 minutes a game when he is coming off the bench. All in all though, Casspi has shown a consistent level of productivity as a starter.

Not only has Casspi improved his individual stats while starting, but he is helping the team as well. Out of all the 5 man lineups possible that can be created in the NBA this season, the Cousins/Casspi/Gay/McLemore/Rondo (current starting 5) lineup is currently ranked 10th in the league in net points with a +46, which is also the highest net rate for a Kings lineup (per Basketball Reference).

The Kings have notoriously been starting games off sluggish this season, but since Casspi has been in the lineup we have seen a lesser degree of their slow starts recently. This leads a to bigger question of whether Casspi not only should remain the starter for the time being, but even when a healthy Cauley-Stein is on the roster, which you can read into more detail here.

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Omri has made a positive impact both for the team and himself when being implemented into the starting five. Because of that, I am giving him a B+ for his work so far. Honestly, he has been a better alternative compared to Cauley-Stein (original starter), and has made the offense more lethal when starting games.

Although the offense has been proficient so far, the defense remains to be an achilles heel for the Kings this season. Because Casspi hasn’t made a dramatic impact on the defensive end is why he can’t earn an A just yet in my perspective.

Overall, Casspi has been a pleasant surprise for Kings fans this season. His ability to be a dimensional offensive player has greatly benefitted Sacramento, and his energy has been contagious as well.

Even though Casspi has not been the ideal, and when I mean ideal I mean absolute perfect starter for the Sacramento Kings, its safe to say that coach Karl made the right decision to promote Casspi to the starting five when he needed someone to step up.