OAKLAND -- The departure of Marreese Speights last summer snapped a Warriors streak that, with very few interruptions, lasted for the better part of 30 years.
It’s a link that began with Terry Teagle and Sarunas Marciulionis before running through the likes of Victor Alexander and Tony Delk and Chris Mills and Gilbert Arenas and Anthony Morrow and, eventually, Brandon Rush and Speights.
The Warriors almost always have had someone, through times good and bad, who comes off the bench for the specific purpose of scoring. Instant offense.
Not so last season, when they placed 21st in bench scoring (32.8 points per game) and, moreover, 29th in 3-pointers made at 2.1 per game.
Consider that hole patched. Veterans Nick Young, who signed last week, and Omri Casspi, who signed on Wednesday, are here to score. They’ll mix in some defense and they’ll pass a bit. But they’ve come to light up the scoreboard, with Young providing what was delivered by the best of Rush and Casspi filling the vacuum left by Speights.
“Those are two guys we’ve always liked,” assistant general manager Kirk Lacob said Wednesday, during the ESPN telecast of the Warriors-Timberwolves game in Las Vegas Summer League. “They’re multidimensional. They’ve got size. They’ve got length. And they can shoot. They’re shooters. We like shooters. We’re really happy about both guys. It adds a new dimension to our bench.”’
Casspi, who has come off the bench in 361 of his 499 NBA games, was quick to clarify what drew him to the Warriors.
“I want to run, I want to shoot 3s,” he said during his introductory news conference.
“Obviously, my game, I don’t shoot a lot of mid-range whatsoever,” the 29-year-old added. “I want to do whatever it takes to help, whether to play tough defense, shoot open shots or move the ball from side to side, defend, do the stuff I do.”
The 6-foot-9 forward -- the first native of Israel to reach the NBA -- has played for five different teams, usually in the role of bench scorer. He’s a 36.7-percent beyond the arc shooter for his career, though twice has posted seasons above 40 percent.
Casspi’s single-game scoring high is 36 points, compiled against the Warriors while he was a member of the Kings in December 2015. He was 13-of-18 from the field, including 9-of-12 from deep in a 122-103 Sacramento loss.
Casspi was outgunned that night by Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined for 52 points, including 11-of-25 shooting from deep.
“It was fun, one of those moments,” Casspi said. “It doesn’t happen often that you make shots (like that). Some guys make shots, but then you have a guy like Steph coming right back and doing even better. It was a night to remember.”
It’s that kind of offensive capability that has kept Casspi in the NBA and also made him attractive to the Warriors, who signed him to a one-year contract worth $2.1 million.
“I can’t wait for the season to start,” he said. “I have so much to prove, and a big chip on my shoulder to go ahead and do the stuff I need to do to help my team win. This is what I’m looking for.”
The Warriors, despite finishing first or second in nearly every offensive statistic, were looking for bench scoring. They are returning to their roots. With Young and Casspi on board, the team has doubled down in its pursuit of triples off the bench.
“I don’t know (Young) personally, but we’ve played against each other plenty of times,” Casspi said. “We have shooting all over the place. This is just great. This is something that compliments his game and my game. I’m looking forward to working with him and our coaching staff.”