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Who is Omri Casspi and how is he leading the NBA in 3-point shooting?

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The man that dared match Stephen Curry shot-for-shot from deep is actually one of the league's best three-point marksmen. His career shows why teams need to be patient with young shooters.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

No one outside of Omri Casspi's inner circle saw this coming. Back when he squirreled away spot minutes with the un-LeBron Cavaliers, he looked closer to being a Euroleague prospect than an elite NBA shooter. The longball had always been a part of Casspi's game, going back to his rookie season battling Donte Greene for minutes in Sacramento. But he'd never quite been good at shooting to overcome his deficits elsewhere.

This has been the case for so many gunners. You have to be Jason Kapono or Kyle Korver or Anthony Morrow to convince GMs and coaches to ignore your deficiencies on defense, on the boards, or in playmaking. You can be Jimmer Fredette or Adam Morrison -- lights out when the lights are off, but just not slick enough in actual games -- and fall right out of the league. The margin between NBA success and failure is razor thin for gunners.

As such, things did not look good for Casspi in Cleveland. He shot 32 percent from long-range over his two seasons there (the final years on his rookie deal) and ended up signing with Houston for the minimum. He did better with the Rockets, but only enough to win another minimum contract, this one with the Kings in 2014. He looked no different than he had in his early days in Sacramento: an average shooter who played with tenacity and didn't help you much in most aspects of the game.

Then the Kings hired George Karl, and now Casspi ranks among the very best three-point shooters in the league. Here Casspi is out here having mid-game duels with the greatest shooter of all time.

After a 36-point outburst against the Warriors, Omri is leading the NBA in three-point shooting (48.7 percent) among players who attempt at least three per game and have appeared in 10 games. (For what it's worth, Jared Dudley is just under three attempts per game and is hitting 48.9 percent.) Casspi has started 13 games for the Kings, taking over the power forward slot after rookie Willie Cauley-Stein went down with an injury.

His shooting success this season follows a blistering finish to 2014-15 when he shot 46 percent from deep over the 29 games he played under Karl. So, in 59 games with the coach, Casspi is 88-for-184 from long-range, a 48 percent clip.

With a growing record of excellence from beyond the arc, Casspi will have a longer leash, both with Karl (who seems to trust the Israeli like he trusts few other current Kings not named Rajon Rondo) and with the league in general. Omri is 27, and the Kings convinced him to take a lowball offer ($6 million over two years) in the offseason to stay with Karl, close friend DeMarcus Cousins and the NBA city he knows best. That pitch has paid off for both Casspi and Sacramento. If he keeps this up, he'll be an eight-figure player the next time he hits free agency in 2017.

Sometimes, patience with shooters does pay off. Casspi obviously works obsessively on his game and stays in peak shape. Comfort and fit with his role have been oh-so-important (as evidenced by the boom under Karl). He's been a huge bright spot on a dim team, and there are probably a few candidates out there to follow in his footsteps on the path from fringe player to shooting star.

Like say ... Reggie Bullock, now playing spot minutes in Detroit, showed enough shooting promise in L.A. to merit consideration for this path. (Free Reggie Bullock!) Allen Crabbe suddenly has a larger role in Portland, but he's a good candidate to become a top-flight deep shooter as he figures out the NBA. Otto Porter is a defender first, but with patience from the Wizards, he could become a great shooter in the future, too.

The lesson of Casspi is that giving shooters more chances to find their flow and develop can pay off in the end.

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