Photo Cred: Jeripk
  The Golden State Warriors recently signed Omri Casspi. He’s completed a journey and actively participating in it right now, bringing Basketball Without Borders back to Israel. On top of all that, he’s got a tough test named “Toko” from Georgia in front of him. Tuesday Israel squares off with the Republic of Georgia for this FIBA group B match.

Toko vs Germany

The most footage on him comes from 2015. I’m going to attempt to scout him for @Casspi18 (Omri Casspi) using these three videos. Although I’m sure the Warriors new forward knows exactly what he’s doing, it never hurts to help a little, so it should be a bit of fun.

The 81″ “Thunder” Dan Majerle

First glance, this man is explosive! ✴️✴️💥

I know no one likes getting compared to people, sometimes it’s a good thing. 

He’s got it all, from a Dirk Nowitzki flamingo step back to the Tayshaun Prince recovery speed force defensively.  The catch and shoot threes scream Thunder and so does the way he treats the poor rim.

Remember that guy from the gym you used to have to bully ball just to slow him down for a quick breather. Toko as they call him is turbulence. 

To help emphasize my point, here’s takes from Santa Cruz Warriors Broadcast Announcer Kevin Danna and the International David Pick.

The first thing you gotta do against a player like this is learn boundaries. Like the pick and pop is his, there’s no way you’re gonna give ground to this guy going to the basket. He plays the P&R like a sav, sets good solid screens, makes sure you remember them and then he’s gone towards the hoop. “Go right at that rim, attack it.” as David Robinson stressed emphatically in this NBA Basketball Without Borders vid, is his primary purpose.

So what do you do, you consult the Warriors defensive coordinator, Ron Adams cheat sheet and you come up with take away a few things he likes to do. Knowing if you can manage to take away one or two parts of his game, that you’ll have a chance to turn him into more of a volume scorer and far be it for me to say, but hopefully his three is off just a hair.

Attacking your oppent physically also has it’s benefits. It might not always be a good idea to try and match strength for strength but running Casspi around screens in order to neutralize this players LEGS on the other side of the court might not be a bad idea.  Any player that’s as fit as a fiddle can run and grind through screens most of the night, but sometimes it comes down to who has gas left in their tank in end game situations. 

This leaves me in a predicament because I see Toko trying to take the shorter Casspi to the block for that step back or that left shoulder spin. The trick here may very well depend on situation. Doing your work early is a good way to get spun on sometimes if you don’t save a little to keep your lateral dexterity available. Players do get caught leaning a lot, so that’s why I think Omri getting under him as soon as his back turns is the best option for the post game. In order to do that, you want to position yourself correctly. So what I want you to do is take a step back for a second and get in a good low and wide athletic stance. Now sink your hips. Lean your lead leg into the crevice of skin behind his knee. Now, short burst ➡️DRIVE. Got that, good. Now don’t let me catch you without a strong forearm💪 all the way down to the wrist in his back to control and feel his upper body as well.

Then there’s the what else mentality that you’ve got to have. I noticed two other things that might be within the relm of possibilities Tuesday. 

For one, all the highlight videos showed him destroying the competition in penetrate and kick situations, where Tornike mostly faded towards an open comfortable spot to catch and shoot. If you don’t play him as a shooter who you’re giving very little help off all night, you might be in for a long night. This man’s a tough mark also because he has the quickness to cut backdoor in an instant. In other words, there has to be a fine balance of sticking to your man & feeling for him. Basketball fundamentals will be taken to task and those fundamentals are staying between your man and the ball. So head turning is out of the question, and a hand towards the chest even at 24′ is the way to go about defending Shengelia on the perimeter.

 The best way to approach the catch and shoot situation if you’re too late is always to go and jump with the blocking hand, right for right handed players, by his shooting hand. If in the case you recover in time whilst he stays down and gives you a nose down head bob, otherwise known as an up-fake be sure to time your left foot step and your left hand swipe down 🖐️⬇️, one after the other. Now you’ve always gotta be careful here because the old expression “You reach, I teach,” is what he’s hoping for. So the hand movement or grab towards has to show a dedicated purpose to encompass the basketball.

Similarly and lastly, the pick and roll I talked about earlier. It’s probably his best basketball skill. So what do you do when a guy isn’t afraid to give you a competitive shove to direct his own momentum to the basket? Well, the first thing you don’t do is give him your back. Now we’re talking about half steps defensively. Just how many half steps back and which direction do you take them before you lean forward athletically. One step behind him playing at a 45° angle to the point where you’re always keying on where his direction might lead to a very good night for Michael Dixon Jr.,  it’s switching stances with your feet defensively that keeps the score down. So 1/2 step behind where you’re creating a wall between him and the basket, is recommended. Also on another topic that relates to this one, when you see a pass first point guard sometimes that’s just what you get. My only tip from personal experience is to feign help coverage and stay strong to the recovery side.

In order to win in these P&R battles you’re going to want to have your left foot forward and right forearm in the small of his back to FORCE him left away from his strong hand. Remember you are entitled to that space as much as he is and only when you over extend your forearm to shove will you draw a foul call. So my advice is be a ball of controlled energy.

That’s just scratching the surface.

Going the extra mile:

 So there’s another move I’ve picked up from re-watching those vids. 

Toko is a nightmare on the fast-break, he knows how to fill the lanes properly and even better he has a second gear that is absolutely incredible. The thing he does best on the break is actually extend it himself. What I mean by that, is when he receives the ball he lenghtens out a dribble one full body length in front of him, and takes a step into it. In these few minutes of footage it gets him to what I’m going to call the launchpad, which is within 3′ of the rim.

So what to do about it, what to do indeed? The basketball in this situation is essentially a loose ball, so your hustle is going to come into play here, big time. Taking a distinct angle towards the location of one dribble ahead of where Shengelia is going to catch the ball has got to be your primary focus, and I don’t care if you’ve got to run straight through the play and call a timeout before you fly out- of-bounds. Be the ball hawk.

Teaching getting separation:

“You gotta make sure you push him down, and then come up.” 

– Omri Casspi