Warriors forward Omri Casspi had an awful 2016-17 season. Playing for three teams, he had Bekins on speed-dial, and few body parts were spared the ravages of the game.
“I pretty much had everything,” Casspi said. “I tore my calf. I broke my thumb. I tweaked both ankles. I got sick. The list goes on and on.”
A season later, Casspi is enjoying good health and stability in Oakland, where Warriors fans showered him with “MVP” chants Wednesday night as he racked up season highs in minutes (19) and points (13) as one of Kevin Durant’s replacements in a 125-101 win against Minnesota.
Casspi flipped a familiar script by signing with the Warriors even after head coach Steve Kerr warned him he might not have a spot in the rotation.
Players coming off bad years often seek work where they can play a big role and reprove their worth. Usually those teams are rebuilding, or plain lousy. Casspi instead took less money, the $2.1 million veteran minimum, to be a role player with the defending NBA champs.
It’s not unusual for older players who have made their millions to sacrifice money and playing time in their quest for a ring. Casspi did it at 29.
“Being on bad teams for so many years kind of hurt my value within the league,” he said. “I felt at times underappreciated.
“I felt like at this point in my career I want to win. I want to be part of a group that, not that there are no egos, but the egos are directed toward the right goal. I felt that learning from Steve and the coaching staff here can put me back where I need to be.”
In other words, the Israel native feels he can just as easily re-establish his worth as a little fish in a very big pond.
He has played just 85 minutes as a Warrior, but the numbers are impressive. He has made 14 of 22 shots, hitting all three three-point attempts, which he sends into the stratosphere with an arc that makes teammates laugh.
Casspi has been in the league since the 2009-10 season. Over his first eight seasons he played for Sacramento (twice), Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans (for one game last year, in which he broke his thumb before he was waived) and Minnesota.
Even as a known quantity, he surprised some of his new teammates with his game.
“He’s just a smart, smart basketball player,” Durant said. “I didn’t know he moved around so well from playing against him over the years. He finds the open area. When he’s out there, he just opens it up for everyone else.”
Kerr said he always felt that Casspi would be a good fit with the Warriors because of how well he moves off the ball and his basketball intuition. Kerr likened him in that way to Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, saying, “You don’t really have to tell him where to be. He’s always there.”
Depending on the game and opponent, Casspi might be on the bench for most minutes or even on the inactive list. Not many players under 30 relish that.
But Casspi trusts Kerr. He also is happy enough with his situation to answer unhesitatingly when asked if he could see himself returning next season on another minimum contract if the team has a cap crunch.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Not even a question.
“Coming in here and being with these guys, learning from Coach and the other guys here, and becoming a better basketball player has always been my ultimate goal. Money wasn’t the reason I started playing basketball, and it won’t be the reason I pick my team going forward.”
So many players say that with their mouths. Casspi said it with his signature on a Warriors contract.
Henry Schulman is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @hankschulman
Who: Philadelphia (6-5) at Warriors (9-3)
When: 5:30 p.m.