This season hasn't started the way Omri Casspi thought it would. Through 11 games, the 6'9'' forward's minutes have been sporadic under new head coach Dave Joerger. When he has played it has been in short stints, and Casspi hasn't looked like he has been able to get into any sort of rhythm, missing shots and turning the ball over.
Reports recently surfaced that Casspi requested a trade, which were later denied by Casspi himself. On Monday after practice, however, the 28-year-old Casspi expressed some clear frustration with his role, or lack thereof, on the 4-7 Kings.
"I didn't think, from the organization standpoint, I would go that far back, from playing 27 minutes to being out of the rotation so quick. It is what it is, you've got to be a pro about it," said Casspi, who planned to meet with Kings general manager Vlade Divac after practice Monday to discuss his role.
Casspi is averaging just 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15.3 minutes minutes per game (he hasn't played in five of the Kings 11 games). This after coming off the best statistical season of his career. Under George Karl last season, Casspi averaged 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists on 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. These numbers came in Karl's free-flowing, high-pace offense. Joerger features a slow-style offense run through designed plays. One of the goals for Joerger is for the Kings to become an effective high-post offense.
Casspi believes, however, that he could still play well in Joerger's system.
"I don't feel like this system is ideal for me, but I don't think it's bad for me ... It's pretty similar to Mike's [Michael Malone] offense. I felt great in Mike's offense when Mike was here," Casspi said. "I can help this team win and it might be here today and I've got to stay ready, it might be somewhere else so I've got to do what I've got to do."
Joerger shared his thoughts on Casspi.
"He's a good shooter, a smart cutter, he loves Sacramento and he's been through some tough times here. So I know his heart is in it and it's a changing year for us in the organization what we're trying to do, and so sometimes his minutes can be sporadic," Joerger said.
Joerger has opted to play Matt Barnes over Casspi at the backup small forward spot. Barnes, who is averaging 23 minutes per game, has been labeled by Joerger as the heart of the team. The 36-year-old Barnes has brought a certain toughness to the defense at times, and Joerger has pinned the hopes of improving this team on defensive consistency, something Casspi, for all of his progress on offense last season, hasn't excelled at over the years.
"Dave is a new coach here and I don't think I was high on his list from the get-go, that's pretty obvious," Casspi said.
Casspi said at the team's Sunday's practice the rotation was set and that he is not in it. He accepts that that could change in a few days or stick, and the only thing he can control is doing his best in practice.
When asked if he still wants to be in Sacramento, he responded with this: "I love Sacramento. You guys know that; 10 games won't change my mind ... it's part of being in the NBA," he said.
So what do you think? Should Casspi be more involved in the rotation?