Omri Casspi

Steve Kerr: Multiple reasons Warriors will be even better in 2017-18

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USATI

Steve Kerr: Multiple reasons Warriors will be even better in 2017-18

Steve Kerr sees the frenzied activity around the NBA in recent weeks and concedes some of it likely is a response to the superiority of the Warriors while rolling to their second championship in three seasons.

So, of course, the league will be happy to hear the coach issue a warning.

“We’re going to be better, for sure,” Kerr said in a weekend phone interview with NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Better than the team that posted a 67-15 record in the regular season before concluding a 16-1 postseason that stands as the best postseason record in history.

Kerr cites the core of the roster remaining intact, the second season with Finals MVP Kevin Durant as a Warrior and the increased firepower off the bench with the additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi.

“If you look at last year’s roster, the one thing that was lacking was (3-point) shooting off the bench,” Kerr said. “Ian (Clark) did a great job. He was kind of prominent shooter off the bench. We have other guys who could score, but their main role is to do other things for us.

“But in terms of having designated shooters, we were able to add two really, really high-quality guys. Both are 6-7, 6-8, so they can switch and guard multiple positions. They’re both really good fits.”

The Warriors last season ranked 29th -- in a 30-team league -- in 3-pointers made off the bench. Young, a career 37.6-percent shooter from deep, is coming off a season in which he shot 40.4 percent. Casspi is shooting 36.7 percent beyond the arc for his career, and shot 34.9 percent last season while limited to 36 games due to injuries.

Young and Casspi join a team that generally was considered the best in the NBA, and that was before the Warriors bossed through a postseason that ended with a five-game destruction of the defending champion Cavaliers.

Within days of the championship parade in Oakland, teams were making moves designed to fortify their rosters, most notably with Chris Paul going to Houston, Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Paul George to Oklahoma City and Gordon Hayward to Boston. Carmelo Anthony finally is ready to flee the Knicks and Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland.

And, yes, there is good reason to believe all this All-Star movement is connected to the dominance displayed by the Warriors.

“I guess some of it,” Kerr said. “When you think about certain teams, and what they’re doing, you could attribute it to that. But on the other hand, everybody is just trying to get better. That’s what they should be doing. I don’t think it’s that earth-shattering.

“So I wouldn’t say that everything is attributed to us, because every team is in its own little world, with their own set of circumstances whatever that is. Everyone has to do what is best for them.”

More from Kerr:

On Lakers coach Luke Walton providing a scouting report on ‘Swagy P’ -- “He just said he was great last year, fun to be around, a great teammate and he thought he would thrive with our veteran group. He also said he was much better defensively last year than people realized. That’s what we’re going to ask of him next year. He’s got to be really good defensively. We know he can shoot.”

On his health -- “I’m in good hands. I’m seeing all the right people. I’m feeling pretty good. I’m getting a little better, so we’ll see where it all goes. I’m having a good summer, getting in the ocean a lot and enjoying myself.”

On the possibility of a White House visit, which NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes champions should make -- “We haven’t had any discussion about it. So we’ll just see if the invitation comes. And we won’t hold our breath.”

Casspi, Young fill huge void for Warriors: Come off the bench and let it fly

Casspi, Young fill huge void for Warriors: Come off the bench and let it fly

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.”

Omri Casspi sends message to Dub Nation after signing with Warriors

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AP

Omri Casspi sends message to Dub Nation after signing with Warriors

Omri Casspi officially joined the Warriors Wednesday as he signed his one-year deal. 

After putting pen to paper, Casspi sent a message to Warriors fans. "Hey Dub Nation, it's Omri Casspi here. I'm excited to be a part of this, let's get it," Casspi said on the Warriors' twitter page.

Between the Kings, Pelicans and T'Wolves, Casspi averaged 5.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in the 2016-17 season.

Over his eight-year NBA career, Casspi has averaged 8.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 36.7 percent from 3-point range.