While most Kings fans are focused on the incredible potential of Hassan Whiteside and DeMarcus Cousins (which is completely understandable), they are overlooking an important battle between two more young players.
Two 22-year-old Small Forwards, Omri Casspi and Donte Greene, are in an intense battle for the last remaining starting spot on the team and a chance to play along with Cousins, Evans, and others
After Kings’ Assistant Coach Mario Elie all but announced that the coaching staff will intently be watching the two young players in Las Vegas it became inordinately clear that one of the two will start while the other will be forced to ride the pine.
Both have responded to the challenge quite well so far.
Greene, the 6’11” versatile forward, has averaged 13.2 in his 21.6 minutes of action per game. Additionally, he has pulled down 2.6 rebounds and dished out 1.6 assists per game.
When Greene has been on the court, the Kings have outscored their opponents by 32 points in the five games in which he has participated.
Casspi has received slightly more playing time, staying on the court for 24.6 minutes per game, and he has produced at a higher clip. The 6’9” Israeli forward has scored 14 points, grabbed 4.4 rebounds, and been credited with 0.6 assists per game.
However, when Casspi has been on the court, opponents have outscored the Kings by 11 points.
Casspi has produced more highlights than his fellow competitor, most notably his three pointer from half court to beat the buzzer beater in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls.
The man from Israel is a better player on the fast break, a better rebounder, and a better offensive player, but his team’s lack of success when he is on the court cannot be overlooked.
Casspi will without a doubt be a very good NBA player but he has much more role player potential than superstar potential. Conversely, while Green’s future is more uncertain, he has an incredible amount of untapped potential and could one day develop into a star.
Because of this, I think that Casspi will win the starting job as the team already has one bona fide superstar in Tyreke Evans and one more coming in DeMarcus Cousins.
That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised by the opposite.