I'm a hermit, and leave my house for four reasons and four reasons only: grocery shopping, school, sports, and Kings games.
Casspi added that he is not happy with the way Coach Paul Westphal is using him, and that he is not able to play to his full potential.Jerusalem Post
Enjoy! First off, I want to send my congratulations to Shimon Mizrahi on his sports award in Israel . When I was 13, playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the late Shimon and Moni Fanan and his family accepted me and became very important figures in my career. My family and I, to this day, keep in touch with Shimon. Congrats! Now to this week in the NBA. We ALMOST got a really good win against Orlando the other night, but in the end we lost a close game. When we play a team game and the ball is moving well from side to side, we look good like a good team and we can compete with anyone. Unfortunately, along with the good moments we also have many weak moments, the coaches are really trying to work with us so that these moments are more far and in between. It really surprised me to see what has been happening to the Miami Heat, who has also had difficulty finishing close games, specifically in crunch time. Usually when a team suffers a 30 point loss out in front of San Antonio, they come back home and the right character of the players in the league transcends itself back on track. Miami has an extraordinary amount of talent and yet they failed to rise, but found themselves with a sequence of five losses, a snowball effect that is hard to get out from under. However, the most important time is in the playoffs, and this will be the real test for Miami. With all due respect to Miami and their losing streak, the big story of the week in the NBA is of course Kevin Love. Love is a phenomenon - a player who in his first year was not selected to the Rookie game, was a second year All Star and then was selected to the real All-Star team in only his third year. Amazing. Love is a double-double machine - the human double-double.. He is not the most athletic player, especially considering some of the guys in the NBA, he's not the strongest either, yet he is still in absolute control of the rebound game with about 16 rebounds per game. It shows all players in the world with a desire and belief can do anything, even at 22 years you can go out and break the record of Moses Malone and reach 52 double - doubles row..it's really hard to comprehend. Another player who had a big week is Kobe Bryant, who moved into sixth place on the all-time points scored list. His rise to sixth place, in fact, was to be expected, it is not even near the end of his career, so it has a few more years to play and a few more spots to move up the list. He is the hardest working player in the league...and really the best in it as well. When you look at Kobe's career it is hard not to compare him to Michael Jordan. Personally, I don't think that Kobe will be remembered as the greatest of all time. Michael has just done everything better than Kobe - better morals, higher scoring average, and of course, a bigger, or more consistent winner in this game of basketball. In my opinion, and this is the same opinion around the NBA, Michael is the greatest player to walk on a basketball court, and it will stay that way. Even if Kobe wins another two championships and equal MJ in rings, he still won't be considered better than him. Jordan reinvented the game of basketball, he took the league to other levels. Jordan had the signature shot, the final shot, the dunks, the rings, the game winners. Kobe is just not on that level. But he is the greatest player on the court today.
It's clear that GSW owners will not support Kings moving to Anaheim. GSWs don't want to open precedent for someone else's move to San Jose.Tim Kawakami, Mercury News (San Jose)
I got a kick out of this, and thought you guys might, too.
Just in case anybody cares...I modified Omri's grammar slightly, but nothing groundbreaking. The original is in the link up top if you like. Finally! It's been a while since I could write to you celebrating an important victory in the league. Rumors have come up lately about the possibility of the Kings leaving the city of Sacramento. In response to those rumors, the city's fans definitely came out and made their presence felt, selling out Arco for our game against the Clippers (W, 105-99). The fans have come to make their voice heard and the Arena was completely packed. There are tens of thousands of fans who are still behind the team and really hope that the squad will remain in Sacramento. They really created an extraordinary atmosphere Monday night and they produced some crazy energy and effort that moved us all, and ultimately, even helped us win. The Clippers game was a very good game for us on both sides of the court. For once, we made good decisions toward the end of the game and played good defense. Once we were able to stop the attack of the Clippers, automatically we got some offensive confidence too. It was a great win and very important to the team's morale and the fans. Some would argue that we should beat a team like the Clippers, since they are on our level. But we must not forget that during the season we have beat the Lakers, Denver, Phoenix, Orlando and Portland - some playoff teams who will fight for the championship at the end of the year. Just before the end of the trade deadline we acquired Marcus Thornton, who gave a great performance against the Clippers as well. Marcus was "hot", so in turn he got a lot of looks at the basket. When he is focused, it is very hard to stop him, and I'm glad he's with us from now on. It was important to enter the game aggressively, penetrate to the basket and get to the foul line. In general, it is important for me to get into the flow of the game through penetration to the basket, reaching the line and playing aggressive. Then, the shots from the outside come. Finally, I cannot talk about a Clippers game and not to mention their star, Blake Griffin. Blake is a very special player, an exceptionally strong forward who can play with his back to basket, and the scary thing is he is only going to improve. Scary. It's too early to say whether in another dozen years Blake will be remembered as one of the best, but certainly the potential is there, and the sky seems to be the limit. He does not seem to be getting tired from the long NBA season- he won the dunk contest, played in All-Star game and looks strong going forward. I think the Clippers a great place for him. They are a very young team, playing without their leading scorer, Eric Gordon, so I am confident that next year they will be in the playoffs. Does he need to make a move like Carmelo or LeBron, moving to the Knicks or Miami to search for Championship? It depends on him, if he believes he can make the Clippers better and they can continue to build around him. Anyway, with Blake in LA, the Clippers will improve and be strong next season. He is an amazing guy, who is also a good friend, a star in this basketball league and it is only a matter of time until his time to shine will truly come.....soon.
Gavin, George, & myself will absolutely be at the game Monday night. My mom really wants to come, but she just had back surgery so it will depend on how she feels. Knowing her, she'll do everything she can. Those 17,317 fans that will be there Monday night are our friends. We will always appreciate the fans and the customer. I know one thing, it's going to be a special night.Joe Maloof
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – New figures have emerged showing how much money Kings employees alone bring the Sacramento region. A Kings move could have a ripple effect on the region’s money trouble, just from the 150 full-time Kings employees that would be out of work. As Sacramento State Economics Dean Sanjay Varshney explains, the math is very simple. "If you wanted to be conservative, the ripple effect could be as large as 1.5 times," says Varshney. So, the estimated $7.5 million in salaries going to Kings employees in Sacramento would be gone, and no longer spent on mortgages, clothing or food, and add Varshney’s multipler, and it would put a $10 million dent into the real Sacramento economy. "Because the money no longer exists, these people no longer have a paycheck to take home, they’re spending less in the local economy," says Varshney. The Maloofs are nowhere near the top employers in the region. That list includes Kaiser, Raley’s and Intel, each with a thousand full-time positions. The Kings have 150 full-time jobs that are supplemented by about a thousand part-time workers. But, Varshney believes if the Kings leave the real economic loss to Sacramento might not be felt for years. "The real loss in my mind with the Kings moving to another city will be the psychological loss that will eventually translate into economic damage," explains Varshney.
This one was pulled off his website, and apparently they've stopped using Google Translate, so this is all Omri, no translation required. Less work for me. A lot of major events and interesting happenings have gone on in the NBA in recent weeks, led by the blockbuster trade between the Knicks and Nuggets last night. First off, honestly, when I sat and watched the Rookie-Sophomore game, I felt a sense of disappointment that I was not there. You have to remember that all players who played in that game are leading players and starters on their given teams, while my season hasn't quite gone that way. It definitely hurt a little in my chest, in my heart, I wanted to be there with them. But it's an opportunity for me to work hard and prepare myself for, maybe, getting real All-Star invitation one day - the sweetest thing there is. On our team, in Israel and here in Sacramento, we think the Melo was pretty fair, and both sides benefited in some way. I personally think the Knicks really strengthened their squad, not only because of the signing of Carmelo, but the addition of Chauncey Billups. Melo, on any given night, is the world's best player, but the guy who really makes the difference in the trade is Billups, a "Money Time" player who will add the a lot to the Knicks backcourt. It will be interesting to see how the new duo of Melo and Amare Stoudmire will play under Mike D'Antoni. I have no doubt that they will be a tremendous force together and that it will be a good combination, how good of a combo? Well, we will have to wait until the playoffs to find out. In any case, the Knicks will be very difficult in the East, up there with the good teams in Miami, Boston, Orlando and Chicago. It's just too early to know if this trade can lead them to Finals this year. Many people automatically make the comparison to the incredible trio in Miami. No doubt the duo for the Knicks is great, but Miami seems to have a slight advantage. Their trio of stars is better right now, especially since New York will have to learn a new system with new players, just as they did in Miami, and that in a month and a half the playoffs start. With all due respect to Miami, and the improvement of the Knicks, I don't see a team in the east that can beat Boston in seven games, not even LeBron and friends. On the other side, the Lakers did stutter, but when the money is on the line in the playoffs, there is no one in the league that can win a series against the Lakers. They are favorites in my opinion, with the best player in the league, the most decorated coach, and a great big man in Pau Gasol. In any case, it will an interesting battle to see, because everyone seems to have gotten better this season. We had a big opponent the other night in the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, there were clear differences in talent levels, they controlled the game without question.. On our side, it's going to be hard to beat them away, in their house, in a game they expect to win. In general, it's not easy to play knowing that our season is over, actually. However, each of us need play for his own dignity, future, career, the fans, the system and the families behind us. Our goal now is to use the remaining games to improve. It's easy to say "we have nothing to play for, time to hit the beach", but we need to do the opposite - to work on our weak areas improve throughout the year and keep our dignity in this league. The actual end of his blog was about his basketball camp in Israel this summer, and I don't think anyone here cares about that, so I just omitted it.
Thought you guys might be interested to know this, although it's probably not a surprise. Omri Caspi may start next season with Maccabi Tel Aviv. The expected players' strike in the NBA may lead to a situation where Casspi would return to wearing the yellow of Maccabi, as the players in the world's best league will be integrated into groups in Europe until the end of the strike in America. A senior Maccabi official confirmed the news to Telesport this morning: "If a strike breaks out in the NBA, Casspi will play for us until the end of the strike. Maccabi is his home and he wants to return. We have already talked with him and the intent of both parties is that Casspi will play with us."
You read that right. This is awesome. Omri gets his own law! Senior Likud officials said that out of the three issues set to be raised, the most likely change was the so-called Omri Casspi bill, which would allow some Israelis abroad to vote and which is named after the Sacramento Kings player who is the first Israeli to play in the NBA. They said the least likely change would be the enactment of direct, regional elections for part of the Knesset. The coalition agreement requires that there be a vote on enabling Israelis abroad to vote, but the same agreement gives every faction veto power over changes in the electoral system. Shas has threatened to use its veto to oppose a bill allowing Israelis living abroad for more than two months to vote.
This is equal parts interesting and hilarious. Click on the link and then a player's picture. Tyreke's nickname is Hugo, and he wants to play in the NFL. Omri can play tennis, and he's actually good. Luther Head goes by Boo. Carl wants to be a firefighter, and his favorite colors are Kings colors. Apparently, Westphal's been to Israel. Beno can move his ears. And why does half our team love Denzel Washington?
If you want to listen to the interview [although I really don't know why you'd want to torture yourself with Peaches' voice], click on the link above, but I've transcribed it below since the link expires on February 7. Some pretty interesting stuff in here, I think: GN: Omri, how are ya? OC: I'm very good, thank you, thank you very much. GN: Absolutely. Well, obviously winning's a lot funner than losing, but how great of a weekend has this been for you and the team? OC: No doubt, you know, just to go to LA...you know we're not playing as good as we wanted to play early in the season, and to go to LA and play the world champs and to beat them in their own place, and to come back home after a great win in LA and beat New Orleans that had 10 straight, it just shows how much talent we have in the team, and it's great. GN: Talking with Omri Casspi. Talk to me about guarding Kobe Bryant, particularly in the 4th quarter on Friday. What made you successful against him, number one, and number two, how difficult is it to defend Kobe Bryant? Really, what do you try to do when you're on him one-on-one? OC: Well, you can't guard him the conventional way, you know, because he is so good, and he learned the league, and he learned the players that guard him. I mean, he's been doing it for many years, and so you gotta show him some different things at times, and I was trying to get close to him and force him one way or the other and send him to my help, and my help defense was there. Sammy did a great job, you know, coming to help on the weak side and just be a presence, and he had to pass the ball because he was, you know, a really tough shot for him to take, and I'm just happy we did a good job defensively as a team, as a group, so he's a phenomenal player and it's a great competition to go against, so you know it's always fun. GN: We're talking with Omri Casspi. Omri, since the calendar went from 2010 to 2011, of course it was the Tyreke shot to end 2010. New Year's night, not a good performance at Denver, but from that point on, other than the game in Boston, your team has in every single game, you've been competitive every night, played hard, now have five wins in the month of January, or wins, what's been the difference? What turned it around? OC: You know, I can't really point in one direction. I think we're playing better offense, we're sharing the ball more, guys know their roles, we're making cuts, we play harder, we play better defense...you know, we beat the Knicks in New York, we beat the Denver Nuggets at home, we beat the Phoenix Suns at home...you know, all those teams that we beat lately, these are playoffs [teams] and they try to make runs for championships. So, you know, it means a lot about our team, because we have a lot of talent, and we knew it from the beginning of the season, so we just hope it can continue to get better, and, you know, it's not this year, so let's make it next year. GN: Omri Casspi joining us here on KHTK. What's it like playing for you at Madison Square Garden? OC: It's an unbelievable feeling, you know, that's for me like playing in Tel Aviv in Nokia Arena in Israel in front of my own fans, and it's great, there's a lot of Israelis and Jewish people, it's the biggest or the second biggest city of Jewish population in the world, and to go out there and have my family coming from Israel, and my brother and my father always travel with me when we go to New York, so it's a great feeling. GN: In that regard, coming from Israel, coming over to California last year and not knowing anybody, and the culture's so different, how has that gone for you? And, you know, you talk about New York being such a huge Jewish population. Have you been able to find, you know, people of the Jewish faith around here that you're comfortable with, you're able to get away from basketball number one, and number two, is that important to have that support group around you? OC: First of all, yes, I have a lot of great friends here in Sacramento and around the United States in general, and just being with my brother here at home, and to have somebody from my family who speaks Hebrew, we can share a lot of experiences that I go through, and he's here with me all the time, so having my brother and a lot of Israelis and Jewish people that live in Sacramento that help me from Day 1. I found a house through them, I have friends that live around the corner next to me, I have an Israeli chef that cooks some of my mother's meals, and my mother gets mad because I don't miss her as much. [Grant laughs] But I get good Israeli food at home, and just being in the organization with the Kings, people don't really know how good of a relationship I have with Geoff, so when I have a problem, when I need something, I know I can talk to him, and he really helps me lately, and I've said it before. He helps me lately, and he's been helping me throughout my career. GN: We're talking with Omri Casspi here on KHTK. You kinda had to wait your turn to get a chance to be the starting small forward, and by that I mean, you know, to get a real prolonged look. Is it important to you to start? Is it a comfort factor? I mean, can you talk to the fans about the difference between starting as opposed to coming off the bench? OC: Yeah, I mean, for me...it's sad to say it, but when Francisco went down, I had the opportunity to go and play. As a player, I'm not waiting for anybody to get hurt to get the opportunity, and obviously not Francisco, he's my best friend on the team, and it was sad for me to see Francisco going down, and I have the opportunity to go and play. But, you know, man, Francisco talked a lot, and Francisco said, you know, "Just go out there and do what you do and go play the best you can, and help the team to win." And when Francisco gonna come back, we're going to have a great problem, that he's got to come back to the rotation, gonna come to the starting line-up, and I'm gonna have to find my role again, I guess. But I love to start, and it gives me a lot of confidence, I know I'm gonna be on the court, I can do a lot of things, and, you know, for me as a young player there's a lot of things that can distract you out of what you need to do on the court. When you start and you know you're gonna get the minutes, now I can really focus on defense as [a] first [priority]. Because on offense, no matter what in the end of the game, [if] I look at the stat sheet I'm gonna find that I have 10, 11, 12 shots a game, so I don't need to really worry about my shots. Just focus on defense and get my minutes back up again from defensive assignments that I have, defensive rebounds, stuff like that, and shots will fall, you know? It gives me a lot of confidence. GN: Omri Casspi joining us. You know, Omri, when people talk about the Kings, they say, "Well, they really need a leader, they need a veteran leader," and I'm curious, what did it mean to come to this franchise and have someone like Francisco Garcia who's been in the league for five or six years, who was one of the older players, and really take you under his wing, so to speak, and be there for you. What has that friendship meant to you? OC: Well, you know, sometimes it's hard to explain in words, because I'm coming into a new country, a new organization, into the NBA that's the best of basketball in the world, and to have somebody like him on the team [to] direct me in the right direction, show me, you know, the ropes, and helping me throughout some ups and downs, too. So it's unbelievable, he's an unbelievable guy, he's an unbelievable teammate, you know, he deserves a lot of respect, and he gets a lot of respect from us as players, as teammates, and he's easily, you know, he's like my brother. GN: Yep. You know what I love about him? He honestly cares about the team, he truly cares about the team. Not necessarily himself. He puts the team first, even through the tragedy of last year on the medicine ball, or the exercise ball. To be able to be that positive through something like that, support the team, root for the team - and he's up every game cheering for you guys. I mean, you don't see that all the time in the NBA, Omri, you really don't. OC: I agree. And not only at home. You know he's coming on the road for all the games, and he's over there, and we go to dinner on the road, and we talk about the team, and even if he's not playing, and he's on the sideline hurt, he takes every loss to his heart and you just can't see...you know, he loves Geoff and he loves the team, he loves his teammates, and it means a lot about him as a person. He puts the team first, and you don't find a lot of guys like that, from my experience, not in overseas, not in Israel and in the NBA. He's a special guy. GN: When I talked to the Kings coaching staff, they talk about you with a lot of praise, they think you've made incredible improvement, and today I noticed in the story that they had on you in the paper, Pete Carril was saying, you know, the one thing that he needs to do this season, he needs to get better [at] handling the ball, and that will really round out his game. Do you agree with that? OC: I'd be very sad if you'd say, "Hey, Omri's at his best right now," [Grant laughes] You know, it's great, it's great, I mean, I have room to improve, I have potential to get better, get better defensively, get better on ball handling, improve my freethrow percentage, so I'm really happy about it, you know, and that's how everybody should look at it. When coach tells you something and talks to you about your game, and wants you to get better, you need to take it the way, you know, "Hey, you meet me tomorrow in the gym." People don't know that, but the last two weeks now since Coach Carril told me that, I'm meeting Bobby Jackson and Coach Carril every practice an hour before, and I'm getting shots off the dribble, and I'm running a lot of pick and rolls, because I don't have that opportunity throughout our offense a lot. So I'm working on it, and next I can come to the coach and say, "Hey, I can do that as well," you know, maybe he'll look for me too. So I'm [going] to keep working, keep getting better all the time. I'm getting my shots after practice, I'm coming early to work on my ball handling, I'm getting like 10 lifts a month, when you need to get only eight, so you got to keep getting better all the time. GN: Omri Casspi here on KHTK. Omri, before you came to Sacramento, it wasn't too long ago that Arco Arena used to sell out every single game. 17,317 every single game, and I'm curious...with what you saw Saturday, the crowd was larger, they were really into the game against New Orleans. How important is it to you as a player on your home floor to have that type of crowd, and we're expecting possibly 16-17,000 tomorrow. Does that make a difference to you guys when you're at home? OC: No doubt, no doubt. We have arguably the loudest fans in the league, and we have great fans. They support the team, and this team had a lot...you know, some tough times lately, and it was a great show of appreciation that Saturday night game that we played. Hopefully gonna be again tomorrow against Boston, because we really need our fans, and the Boston Celtics is a great team. When we went to play in Boston, their fans...you know, it was really hard to play there, and we felt it. So we know how it can be, as good and better. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow. GN: Paul Pierce tomorrow, I mean, that's the one thing about the NBA, Omri, you know, every night you're going up against somebody that is unbelievably skilled. What about playing and, you know, defending somebody like Paul Pierce? OC: I watched the game against the Lakers yesterday, he made some unbelievable shots. He's an unbelievable player who can make unbelievable shots, and sometimes you have to live with it. I just got a DVD from our media guys, and it gave me, you know, a lot of tendencies of Paul. It's tough, that's the NBA, like you said. One night you're playing against Kobe and the next night you're playing against Paul Pierce, some nights even better. So it will be a tough match-up, you know, we need to do teamwork to stop that guy, and that level of players, we've showed in the past we're capable of doing it, and hopefully we'll do it again tomorrow. GN: Final question. Through the tough times of November and December, it would have been easy for everybody to be just, you know, gosh, kinda dejected, not giving the full effort. But even through that time, you guys played hard every night, and now you're starting to see the rewards with wins. Is there a difference at practice now, are guys more excited or more confident, is there any difference at practice, or is it the same as it's been all year? OC: I think it's the same thing all year. I think our coach is doing an amazing job keeping the guys focused, always, coach before every game, he talks to the players about 25 minutes before we go out, and he says, "Hey, let's start our own streak right now, let's get a win, let's get our momentum going, and then we're gonna get a couple of games, and, you know, we might get 30-35 wins at the end of the year." And he's doing an amazing job keeping the guys focused, and guys are hungry, guys are wanting to succeed, we have a lot of young guys and we understand that sometimes, to see the light you have to go through darkness, and we;re going through some tough times right now, and we've been through them. Hopefully we, you know, a little bit at a time, we start seeing that beautiful light and we start trying to get there, and hopefully we're gonna be there soon.
I felt like I needed a more interesting title since it's kind of a slow day for the Kings, and I'm sure we're all bored. ;) I bet you didn't know His Airness has a Jewish secretary. The things we learn... Here ya go: The last two games, against Portland and last night against Charlotte, I had to play in the presence of the greatest chairman, Michael Jordan, owner of the Bobcats. During the All-Star game last year, we sat and talked. It turned out he had a Jewish secretary, but we talked mainly about the NBA. We got to meet one more time when we were playing in Charlotte. He has great charisma. It was fun to meet him and talk to him, because he is a person I admire and love. Michael is a basketball player who changed basketball radically, a player that people all over the world, including myself, would get up early in the morning to see. A game that he watches feels far more exciting, it gives meaning to the floor we play on and helps us understand the enormous history of this league, the honor of being part of it and playing after a legend like Jordan. Back to Sacramento, now we have reached the halfway point of the season in the NBA. The statistics say that in 16 of 41 games we played, we led in the last quarter and lost, including three games where we lost in overtime. In many games, we come to end when the outcome is close, and fail to finish the game playing well. We're trying to find the reason why together. We sit to watch the videotapes over an over to correct the errors and find a way to win. However, despite the bad start to the season, in recent times we're playing basketball a lot better. We won a thrilling game against Portland and got to 10 wins, team play has improved and became much better, and we must continue the improvement. When we play as a team, we have lots of tools on offense and it is difficult for rivals to stop us, it's a fact. Even defensively, we're doing good things and stop our opponent at their point average. This is how we should play. Personally, I have now played half a season as a second-year player. I feel like I'm getting the coach's confidence and the time on the court that I expected, and now all the pressure is on me to hit the shots I take, grab more rebounds and keep getting better. In offense, as team play has improved, things look better for me. As I gain more experience in the NBA, I gain respect too. The attitudes of the referees, the audience and the opponent are different this year. They already know me and know who I am and what to expect from me. In general, I feel I am in great shape, much better than last year. At this time a year ago I weighed 205 pounds, a little less than 93 kg, while today I stand at 228 pounds, about 103 kg. I need to keep this muscle, because it helps me on both sides of the court. I feel stronger and faster. The offensive part of my game has improved, and I hope to get minutes in accordance with the improvement as much as possible when on the field. Each team we have played against has treated me with respect, just because this year I no longer have the pink bag that all rookies carry and I no longer have to pay for the whole team's breakfast. Now I get respect from our rookies and enjoy my new status, and in a year our rookies will see the that the new rookies don't forget their pink bags and pay for meals. Before the draft in 2009 in which I was selected, many people and basketball commentators laughed about the quality of the draft. Today, as the players chosen close in on a season and a half in the best league in the world, these people should eat their hats. Players like Tyreke Evans, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Taj Gibson and Blake Griffin are prime athletes. In his own way, Griffin takes over the league. He has a unique character and a sense of competition that distinguishes this player in his first year in the NBA (last season he was injured). It's nice to see a player like that. My team and I are now facing a series of very tough games against the best teams in the league - we will play against San Antonio, New Orleans, Oklahoma and Dallas in the near future. But even before that, we go out in a few days to Los Angeles to meet the Lakers. Of course it is very difficult and challenging for us to win there; it's never easy and we'll have to play very smart to beat Kobe and his friends. --- And an article on FCP about Omri was posted literally as I translated the blog, and to avoid cluttering the fanshots, I figured I'd just double up: When I met Omri Casspi last season, the Kings forward was being honored at Jewish Heritage Night in N.J., where the first Israeli-born player in the NBA received an overwhelming amount of support from the road crowd. Now in his second NBA season, the ever-humble Casspi has not let the fame and fortune of being an international star and world phenomenon change his easy-going demeanor or living arrangements, preferring to share a home with his older brother, Eitan, with whom he’s lived since moving to the U.S. As opposing arenas remain filled with Israeli flags and No. 18 jerseys, Casspi continues to serve as a role model to millions of people and takes tremendous pride in the passionate fans who’ve welcomed him with open arms. In fact, Casspi has gotten so much admiration on the road, that teammate Donté Greene says the home team’s fans sometimes get mad because so many people in the stands are cheering for the Kings. Yet, despite his ever-increasing popularity, Casspi still makes time to connect with his fans in every city through frequent pregame appearances and visits to synagogues and community centers. "I love (meeting the fans). Everywhere we go there is (so much) support from fans. I take a lot of pride in being Israeli and Jewish, representing the Jewish people and wearing number 18," said Casspi, whose jersey number symbolically represents "chai" – life in Hebrew. After wrapping up a terrific rookie campaign in which he averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, Casspi has evolved into a more complete player in his sophomore season, igniting Sacramento on both ends of the floor both as an indispensible part of the team’s rotation. Coach Paul Westphal credits the Kings current starting small forward with helping Sacramento win several games with his clutch shooting, and has praised the forward’s growing knowledge of his team defensive responsibilities. "He has a better understanding of what this league is all about now," said Westphal. "He worked really hard (during the) summer, he’s improving defensively all the time and he has that passion." Serving as a leader on the Israeli national team over the summer not only helped Casspi attain more experience, but also gain increased confidence. His renewed assertiveness has not gone unnoticed by his teammates, who’ve praised his competitiveness and relentless desire to win. "He’s really turned it on by giving us a spark," said forward Carl Landry. "He’s been a leader on the team by setting an example and (being) a vocal leader, as well." In 29 games in which Casspi has played more than 20 minutes, the small forward has averaged 11.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest, while knocking down 57 three-pointers on 42 percent shooting from downtown. In a thrilling comeback victory against the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 2, Casspi hit the go-ahead triple with 25.6 seconds left in the game. Working diligently on both ends, he has recorded at least two steals four times in the last 14 games and posted back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in his career earlier this month. "I really think Omri is one of the most fiery people on our team," said center DeMarcus Cousins. "He brings so much emotion and energy, knocks down big shots when we need them, gets key rebounds –without him, some of (our wins) would’ve been lost." Francisco Garcia, who has served as Casspi’s mentor over the past two years, believes the second-year forward is now a tougher player who’s prepared to handle the rigors of an 82-game season. "He learned how to play the game better and he’s a better and more mature player," said Garcia. "He (worked) a lot (during the) summer, he’s fit and he’s physically stronger." While Casspi is an NBA veteran in his second season and has admirably handled the pressure on and off the basketball court, he doesn’t feel it’s his time to serve as a mentor to the team’s rookies just yet. "Not yet – I’m still a guy who’s being taken care of!" he laughs. "It’s my second year, but I’m just helping (the rookies) as much as I can." After being named to the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge and selected as a contestant in the HORSE competition at the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend, Casspi hopes to make the trip to L.A. for this year’s midseason classic. Despite shooting 40 percent from three-point range so far this season, however, his goal is to be selected to only one Friday night event. "(I want to) make the Sophomore team," he revealed. "I don’t really want to make the Three-Point Contest, because I don’t (view) myself as a spot-up three-point shooter." The forward’s hot shooting and knack for hitting timely baskets remind some fans of two-time Three-Point Contest winner and one of Casspi’s idols, former Kings forward and current Dallas Mavericks player Peja Stojakovic. When I told Casspi he has nearly matched the three-time All-Star’s scoring, while shooting a higher percentage from the field and from downtown through two seasons, he was pleasantly surprised. "Really? That’s great to know, and he’s obviously someone I look up to and have a lot to learn from," said Casspi, who plans to study more Kings games from earlier in the century. "I feel like we have a lot of similarities, so it’s a good thing to know." Casspi certainly has his work cut out for him, since Stojakovic became Sacramento’s starting small forward in his third season and established new career-highs of 20.4 points (47 percent shooting) and 5.8 rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Casspi’s teammates will certainly not bet against the rapidly-improving young star, deeming the best is yet to come. "I’ve seen a lot of improvement," said guard Tyreke Evans. "He just has the will to win, the passion to be one of the best players. I always tell him his swag (is) on a thousand – he’s come a long way and is only going to get better."
From Dante Cunningham's Twitter after the game on Wednesday. Damn my elbow hurts!!!!!!! Lol nah not really it feels pretty damn good y do I have to watch my elbows he has to watch his face lol
There were too many interesting parts to post this as a quote. I'll even save you the trouble of clicking on the link. In the final moment of Tuesday afternoon’s practice, the Kings scrimmage was brought to a dramatic conclusion as Tyreke Evans lobbed a pass into the air for Samuel Dalembert for an emphatic windmill slam. While rookie Hassan Whiteside’s teammates relished in Dalembert’s flush, it was a stark re-introduction to Sacramento for Whiteside, who ended up on the wrong side of the veteran’s poster-worthy move, which also stood as a testament to the team’s current mentality. Coming back from their longest and most grueling road trip to date, the Kings are disappointed with their record (9-30), yet pleased with their overall effort. "I think we played a lot of good basketball," Coach Paul Westphal said. "It’s a crying shame we only came away with one win. You could make a case that we should have come away with five wins. I think there’s good basketball in us, and we just need to squeeze out 48 minutes of it." "We were in every game, and we feel like we should have at least come back 4-2," Pooh Jeter said. "We had the opportunity to win those games, and we just need to learn how to finish in the second half." Carrying leads into the fourth quarter five out of six games, the team only came away with a single win—leaving the Kings coach challenging his players to work even harder. "It’s hard to sustain 70 percent shooting, but I think a lot of our players need to get in better shape," Westphal said. "I think when DeMarcus (Cousins) works as hard as Kevin Garnett, he won’t get tired in the second half. I think when Tyreke has his foot problems out of the way and can condition himself, he won’t get tired in the second half either. Those are two examples of players who can step up their game so we won’t have (second-half) droughts." Although they didn’t satisfy their own expectations, the Kings feel they returned from their East Coast swing with a better understanding of each other and their respective roles. "I just think we are fitting some pieces together," Sacramento’s coach said. "It seems like guys are comfortable right now and we are getting some good performances. I think Carl (Landry), Omri (Casspi), Pooh and Sam really bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the game and fit right in with the flow." "After (the holiday) break we really started getting things together," Jeter said. "Now we know when we’re going to get into the game, and we just need to produce when we get our chance." For Cousins, he and his teammates have a better understanding of his team’s leadership—with Evans recently emerging as a leader. "Leadership—Francisco (Garcia) and Sammy of course, but I believe Tyreke really stepped up on this trip as well," said the rookie center when reflecting on the lessons learned from the longest road trip of his young career. "Even in the beginning when he was hurt, he really stepped up." As for his errant inbound pass at the end of the game against the Hawks, the Kings starting center simply missed his target. "I was trying to do what coach told me," Cousins said. "He wanted me to throw it off the backboard, but it was a tough angle. "It’s just another step that we have to learn," he continued. "Another progression we have to make. We need to learn how to close games." Injury Report Presented by UC Davis Health System Francisco Garcia (strained left calf) was able to participate in a portion of Tuesday’s practice. According to Westphal, the veteran remains day-to-day and is questionable for Wednesday night’s showdown with Portland.
@bjaxx24: What up tworld, watchin this bears/seahawks game. Not looking good for the seahawks. We were lifting with Daniel, he almost cried!— Omri Casspi (@Casspi18) January 16, 2011
Because this made me laugh. @bjaxx24: What up tworld, watchin this bears/seahawks game. Not looking good for the seahawks. @Casspi18: We were lifting with Daniel, he almost cried! Hope you guys are handling it better than Daniel Shapiro.
Written in Hebrew after the game against Boston, translated for your perusal. Enjoy. I think 2011 started very well. Now we have some sort of stability in terms of hierarchy, and personally I feel I'm doing my job on the court well. The team, unfortunately, still can not produce a winning streak, and our play as a team is the main reason for our losses. You might say we lose because Tyreke Evans, who is a significant part of the team, is not playing because of injury, but the rest of our team should be enough to win, if we play well. These days we are in the midst of one of the most intense streak of difficult games the team has faced this season, including six games in nine nights. Immediately after the game against Washington, we were on a very tight schedule. We drove the bus straight to the airport, where we ate dinner on the plane, minutes before takeoff. Because of the blizzard in Boston, we came to the city very late, and only settled at the hotel around 4:30 in the morning , when in the evening we would have to play against Boston. Because of late arrival, we all had completely different agendas, each player had the morning off to prepare for the game. I, personally, rested most of the time in order to restore the energy lost after the game in Washington and during the flight. Despite the density of the games, the practice and games in the NBA are very close. Obviously if we had 3-4 days between each game, we would be better prepared, but again, despite the disrupted time table, we value the professional staff's analysis of opposing players, including video, and every player receives a detailed page on the opposing team and his goals in the game. On the court itself, there were clear differences in levels. We played against a team which is one of the three best teams in the league, and we had lost the last two games, and wanted to win and go back on track. The game, in fact, ended at the beginning of the third quarter with a great run from Boston. Boston is a well-oiled system, with accuracy and extraordinary performance, the best defense in the league. They have a great combination of veterans, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, along with the young and talented Rajon Rondo. We, by contrast, played very, very badly. Things did not go as we wanted on both sides of the hardwood, we looked like individuals rather than a team. Just a shame. In two days we meet the Knicks. Although I have played against them a few times, it's always exciting to get to New York - both professionally, as a Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, after the halls with the biggest history in the NBA, and personally, to play in the eyes of the local Jewish audience. Unfortunately, the game will be on Friday evening, and the amount of fans will not be like last year, but I hope that at least the result will be identical to last season, and we will win. Because of the talk about trades, people have been asking me if I dream to get traded to the Knicks, which was mentioned as a candidate to take me. The truth? My only dream now is to win in New York, Detroit and then Atlanta.
Sacramento Kings Omri Casspi (18) from Israel begins to celebrate in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards as the game goes into overtime on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 in Washington. Wizards won 136-133 in overtime. (AP Photo/Pablo Monsivais) Is this the picture of the week? I think so. Full size, but with an incorrect caption.
Last night was a huge victory-we won on national TV! The whole country saw our 3 young stars @boogiecousins @thetyrekeevans @Casspi18 #KINGS The Kings' core, according to co-owner Joe Maloof.Joe's Twitter
Great, informative read...as per Sam's usual. Check it out.
These are actually two separate articles, but I thought both were interesting and didn't want to post two fanshots. And just a disclaimer: I think the first journalist has an agenda, but I thought the quotes were worth reading. Omri Casspi is in a dilemma. His wonderful debut season in the NBA, along with a modest contract, made him a popular item in the league; Washington, Toronto, New York and Chicago want to acquire Casspi through trade. Chicago is the most vigorous suitor asking to begin negotiations, but at this point the Sacramento Kings will not give up the Israeli forward. Therefore, Casspi is faced with a problem: Sacramento, he knows well, will continue to tread water at the bottom of the Western Conference; On the other hand, he wants to stay with the Kings, who believed in him and gave him his first chance in the NBA. However, his long-term goal, Casspi admits in conversation with Haaretz Sports, "is to be in a team running for the championship. I hope it can happen to me with Sacramento. It would be very ugly for me to say today that I want to move to the Lakers. The team who took me from Maccabi and gave me a potential future was Sacramento. I feel this club trusts me, and I feel that I have a lot more to give the Kings. I wish we could restore the beautiful days of Sacramento, as they were at the beginning of the decade. " But it will not happen, and Casspi, deep down, may be aware of this. According to U.S. reports, the team owners, brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof, are in a heavy financial crisis. This puts the continued existence of the group at risk. Even on the court, Sacramento looks very bad: it holds a record of 23:6, the worst in the league. "We will not get into the playoffs, that's for sure. This season, we will not go anywhere," Casspi acknowledges. If so - considering that there were still some fifty games left in the season - what will drive him, the player who grew up one of the best clubs in the world? "The goal is to win as many games as possible," he says. "I can not give a number, because we are near a road trip, and it is very hard to win games on the road. I think that today, I will play to try and be consistent here, not just for me, but also for the team. The rest of our players have to be on this page too. The player who does not think about the future of the team, but only looks at his numbers, is making a mistake. Personally, I think I'm one of the three players that Sacramento is planning to build her future around. I work to justify the hopes they have for me." Even on a personal level, Casspi is having difficulties. He finished his rookie season with 77 games, 31 starts, 25.1 minutes on average, 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists; this season he has only started in eight games for an average of 22 minutes, with lower scores of 8.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. "I feel I got better this season. I worked hard in the gym, I got into better shape. Today I weigh 227 pounds, which is 103-104 kilograms. I improved my shooting. I have more experience. I'm no longer a rookie in this league, I know what to expect. Clearly, I want to play more, because I feel I have much more to give to the team, and I want to show everyone I came back this season a better player. Unfortunately, this season was not stable for me as I wanted and hoped it would be." In particular, the last two weeks Casspi has been going through a prolonged slump; in the last five games, he played only 14 minutes on average. And the fact that Sacramento did not loses frustrates him even more. "Sitting on the bench is strange and difficult for me," says Casspi, "Of course, the fact that I was not with family or with friends is hard. It's very difficult to play in an uncertain atmosphere, but it's part of being professional. It does not happen in every team, it hasn't happened to me in my career so far, and it still does not happen in other teams I'm looking at, but it is what happened. If I take it poorly, the situation will become worse. I do not have to fight. Our coach has various systems, and we all need to make the adjustments. This situation is not easy; there is pressure, there is an audience with expectations, and the fact that you do not know why you will play or not play is problematic, but I'm more experienced and know that the best thing I can do right now is be patient. " Common to many of Sacramento's victories this season was the following statistic - multiple players scored in double figures. "I feed on team play, and if one plays well, then we all play better," he says about it. "But when a player scores 20 points and the rest do not score, it can work here and there, but not for long. Over time, if we are together, on one front, we win more. Teams make the playoffs, not a collection of individuals," says Casspi. So why do they lose so much? "It's really very, very difficult," says Casspi. "I actually think we have the tools to succeed and the talent, but we lack the small things that would give us victories. We need to upgrade the offense. The ball must pass between more hands, because that would make it more difficult to defend us. We are losing by small margins. It means we can win, but a loss is a loss, and on a personal level, I have to say that losses affect me." Something that adds even more disappointment for Casspi is that "just last year we improved from 17 to 24 wins. Before the season we talked about the reaching 35-40 victories, but now looks like it's going the other way. It's hard to understand why this happened to us. We have talent, we have many good players, but maybe we aren't using them properly to their full ability. This should be the work of the players, coaches and staff." But Casspi will not give up; he is at the peak of physical fitness ("My body has adjusted, now I know what a season of 82 games means,"), in the locker room he feels better than ever ("I have a strong voice this year, that's for sure. I'm happy to make sure the rookies bring the donuts and Barbie bags everywhere,"), and personally, he think he could still return his performance to the level of last season. "In terms of numbers, before the season I was expecting to upgrade myself to 13-14 points on average," says Casspi, "and it is still feasible. I was an All-Star last year with 12.7 points. Today, I am going on 9. The initial goal is to get to 12 by All-Star Weekend, then improve again. I think if I get enough minutes, then I can do it. But I have work to do, and to get minutes I should be at my best." Sacramento loses all the time, but Casspi's former team is winning without a break; Casspi stresses that he is happy to see that Maccabi Tel Aviv is shining again. "Maccabi has had an amazing year. There were many question marks in the summer, but Maccabi's just playing the game and today there are a lot less questions. I see Baby Shaq at his best, great games from Lior Eliyahu, Tal Burstein is the leader again and it's fun to play with him. It's been an experience to see Maccabi's season to date." ---- Omri Casspi was selected by the Sports 5 channel as the Israeli athlete of the year in 2010 after playing as the first Israeli in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings and completing his rookie year. Casspi returned to Israel in the summer and led the Israeli team to the European Championships to be held next year, and then returned to the United States for his second season with the Kings. "The situation is quite difficult. The fact that we are losing a lot causes the coach to replace a lot of players in the starting five often," he said in an interview with Sports 5. "Recently we talked about the change we need. We need to play more as a team," added the forward, "Coach made a change in the rotation and we got kind of order and this is something that can help us win. I do not know how long this hierarchy will last, because we do not win many games. The rotation depends on the victories we achieve. Each player received personal feedback." "I feel I've progressed since my first season in the NBA because I know I am ready to play, so I never felt the need to coach and ask him about my status," Casspi said about his own status on the team. "I believe that without a lot of talk, I have to work very hard to get ready to play." If there will be any change in Sacramento's roster before the trade deadline, Casspi, because of his good, low-cost contract, may switch to a new home. And yes, he is aware of the possible scenario: "First of all, I'm aware of the talk about trading. Recently, there were all sorts of interesting suggestions, but at the moment Kings do not want to release me to any group and I'm happy about it. Beyond that, nothing depends on me. The possibily that Paul Westphal may be fired as coach is mere talk, and should not affect the group. He is a good coach and I trust him. The whole team appreciates him. " "In the national team, we played together, as a team. I think we are not enough as a team in Sacramento. Recently, we've tried to share the ball among all the players. When you see San Antonio for example, playoff contenders this season - they play games as a team regularly and we strive to reach this level." Walla Sports (Hebrew) News 1 (Hebrew)
"Today in practice, there were a few times I drove and I was looking to find guys, but I didn’t know where they would be." We've got a guard who wants to drive and find the open guy? The Jeremessiah has come. Rejoice!FCP: Taylor Excited to Join Young Kings
Kings lost again? Quick, Robin! A diversion is needed! As someone who actually watched every minute of the last 22 games, I noticed that Jerry asked for help during the game on Saturday with coming...
Omri Casspi strained his left hamstring and sat out the final half-hour of the workout with an icebag around his thigh. He is listed as questionable against the Heat, but of course he'll play. "Are you kidding?" Casspi said after returning to the court to shoot jumpers. "Come on. This is me. Remember?" Before being drafted by the Kings, Casspi was just another Israeli who listed James as his favorite NBA player.Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/12/11/3249978/kings-notes-team-quickly-addresses.html#ixzz17onB7ZZC
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