BY THE NUMBERS:
36 games played (0 started), 14.4 minutes per game, 6.3 points per game, 53.4% field goal percentage, 34.9% three point percentage, 112 offensive rating, 107 defensive rating, 15.7 PER, .119 win shares per 48 minutes.
SEASON IN REVIEW:
It seems like years ago that Omri Casspi was on the Grizzlies, doesn’t it?
Yet Casspi was on the Memphis roster as recently as February 7th, when he was waived to allow for the Grizzlies to get back down to the league mandated 15-man roster. After the deadline dealings Memphis needed to let someone go, and after tearing his meniscus there was no guarantee that Casspi would have been able to come back for the end of the season. His release was almost an afterthought in the aftermath of the trades the Grizzlies completed, headlined by the departure of franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol.
But should it have been?
Casspi played in 36 games for Memphis, and actually played quite well in his time in Memphis. His shooting percentages were good to great. Among players that logged at least 500 minutes of action (sorry Tyler Zeller) Casspi was 4th on the team in offensive rating, tied for 3rd in defensive rating, 8th in PER, and 6th in win shares per 48 minutes. In terms of somewhat filling the role of a versatile forward that can score and play multiple positions that Chandler Parsons was going to fill when he signed his max deal almost three years ago, Casspi fit in nicely for far less money.
A smart, cost-effective signing. Who knew the now former Grizzlies front office was capable of such a thing?
But as the season went away from playoff contention and toward a potential major reset of the roster, the need to hold on to an injured-but-talented veteran was negated. Omri made the most of his minutes in Memphis, though, and at times (see highlights above) was the best option for the Grizzlies offensively. He picked up where he left off from his time with the Warriors and showed that he was no fluke in terms of efficiency and versatility.
It stands to reason that Omri Casspi will not be returning to Memphis. His roster role and timeline for being a competitive NBA player does not align with what the Grizzlies seem to be wanting to do in terms of a new direction. If you’re truly trying to be proactive and not reactive moving forward, 30-year-old veteran journeyman wings coming off meniscus surgery shouldn’t be high on your free agent priority list.
But like Memphis last summer, a team that thinks it is playoff caliber would be wise to sign Casspi to a veteran’s minimum contract if Omri is able to come back healthy from his meniscus surgery. He proved both in Golden State and Memphis that he can still bring scoring bursts to a bench unit, and as a 9th or 10th man off the bench for a contender that can have significant value, especially if the price is right. In the case of Omri, it almost certainly will be.
He may never sign a multi-year contract again. A player like Casspi still can be a meaningful contributor to a good team, however, if utilized properly. That should mean employment with his fifth team in three years this coming season.
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com