Warriors

Omri Casspi states his case to remain on Warriors' roster

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AP

Omri Casspi states his case to remain on Warriors' roster

OAKLAND -- The Warriors, after waiting for months and getting exceedingly rare glimpses, would like to believe Omri Casspi arrived Monday night.

When the veteran forward signed a one-year contract last July, the Warriors expected a fundamentally sound offensive player whose 3-point shooting could provide floor spacing for their reserve unit. They didn’t expect much defense.

For nearly four months, Casspi, using constant motion to outwit defenders, has delivered only on the fundamentally sound offensive player component.

That’s why Casspi’s performance in the 57th game of the season, a 129-83 rout of the vastly inferior Phoenix Suns, was so encouraging -- and necessary for him to get playing time with the team’s second unit in meaningful games.

Starting at power forward for the injured Draymond Green, Casspi played 27 minutes and totaled a season-high 19 points, on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, with game-high 10 rebounds. Playing all 12 minutes of a garbage-time fourth quarter, he scored 11 points and boosted his plus-minus to plus-28 for the game.

The highlight, though, was Casspi draining a top-of-the-arc 3 pointer for his first triple since Dec. 14.

“He played amazing,” Stephen Curry said.

Casspi’s production was a welcome sight for the Warriors inasmuch as they went into the trade deadline actively seeking someone who could provide what they hoped they’d get from Casspi.

Even now, the Warriors continue to monitor the buyout market for someone capable of giving them what they anticipated from 29-year-old Israel.

“I felt like the guys found me early with some easy ones to get going,” Casspi said. “I put a lot of effort into spacing the floor more and shooting more 3s. (Media) come to practice. You guys see me all the way in the corner trying to shoot a lot more, get back into being more of what I used to do. Add that to cutting and moving also. I’m trying. On the run, on the fly, it’s been tough, but it is what it is. It’s part of the game, and I’m happy coach trusted me to go out there and compete. It felt good.”

The Warriors have accepted that Casspi’s defense is a liability and this his minutes depend on matchups and timing. They have to pick their spots to play him, and pick very, very carefully if he’s not spacing the floor and scoring.

“I’ve hardly played him, through no fault of his own,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He just hasn’t had much of chance. I think it’s great for Omri to have a night like tonight and Nick Young to get extended minutes.”

Casspi has played in 44 games, with seven starts. He has, due to a variety of minor ailments, gone as many as three consecutive games without getting a second of action.

As the Warriors approach home stretch, general manager Bob Myers needs to know if there is a place for Casspi. Kerr and his staff need to know. Casspi’s teammates need to know.

“He obviously rebounded the ball well, shot well from the floor, was aggressive and took advantage of Draymond’s absence,” Curry said. “So he’s obviously a very smart player. And when he has those opportunities to just play off of the other four guys that are out there on the floor that’s when he’s at his best.”

The Warriors still don’t know for sure if Casspi will be useful in the postseason, which is why Myers hasn’t abandoned thoughts of a roster change in the coming weeks.

Casspi, however, gave everyone something to think about on Monday night.

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller