According to league sources, the Raptors will opt to give Dwane Casey another year under Masai Ujiri. Despite failing to make the playoffs in each of his first two seasons, it seems Casey has won over enough people at MLSE to warrant another shot.
Perhaps the league sources MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke leaned on so heavily when deciding Bryan Colangelo’s fate made a compelling argument for Casey’s abilities as head coach. Casey reportedly has the support of his young roster. Where are Dwight Howard and Latrell Sprewell when you need them?
One doesn’t have to dig very deep to make a case against Casey’s performance last season. Whether it was overplaying an obviously ineffective Alan Anderson over the club’s highflying lottery pick Terrence Ross, blowing countless close games, or his love affair with playing four guards while the team got crushed inside, Casey had his share of struggles.
Mar 27, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) with the ball against the Atlanta Hawks at the Air Canada Centre. The Hawks beat the Raptors 107-88. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dwane Casey was billed as a defensive specialist, but his Raptors were among the worst defensive teams in the NBA. They sent opposing teams to the charity stripe more than any other team, and were among the bottom ten in defensive efficiency. Despite fielding a roster full of capable individual defenders, the team never seemed to find an identity on the defensive end. Often fielding a small forward or shooting guard at power forward, Casey’s small-ball tactic was a means of overcoming his shortage of serviceable big men for the sake of offensive efficiency. The problem was, they weren’t very good offensively either!
It was rumored that Casey and Colangelo clashed philosophically in terms of how to best utilize the roster last season, and at this point, we may have to give Casey the benefit of the doubt that he was simply making use of the roster he was dealt. Still, if a better coach is available, the Raptors should give it some consideration. It may prove difficult to draw elite coaching talent with more talented teams like the Nets, Sixers, Pistons and Clippers still searching.
However, Stan and Jeff Van Gundy, Scott Skiles, Doug Collins, Nate McMillan, Jerry Sloan, Vinny Del Negro and Brian Shaw are all available, and could potentially be intrigued by the Raptors’ young core and willingness to commit the necessary dollars to build a contender.
Casey has struggled with managing rotations, offensive creativity, and responding to mid-game adjustments by other coaches. His lack of playoff experience and lack of proven track record with developing young players begs the question; what is it that Dwane Casey does well outside of get a consistent effort from his team each night?
He hasn’t shown he’s good enough to win as a head coach, and he’s also proven for two years that he isn’t quite bad enough to allow the Raptors to finish in the bottom 5. With the 2014 draft slated to be one of the best in years with players like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker headlining the crop, now would be as good a time as any to decide whether the Raptors would like to win a lot or lose a lot more next season.
Another ninth place finish would be about the worst imaginable scenario. An eighth place finish and a first round matchup with Miami wouldn’t be a hell of a lot better.
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