Sep 30, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey speaks with the media on media day at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Dwane Casey - In Focus (Part 1)

We couldn’t wind up our look at the 2013-2014 Toronto Raptors without considering its head coach, Dwane Casey.

Dwane Casey began his coaching  career in 1979 following four fine years as an undersized point guard at the University of Kentucky, his home state. He was hired as an assistant at his alma mater after graduating with a Business Administration degree, but resigned in 1988 following an investigation of a recruiting scandal. Casey was exonerated of all charges, and later settled out of court a defamation suit he brought against a freight company. He commenced his NBA career as an assistant with the Seattle Supersonics, who won four division titles in his tenure. Casey also served as the coach of the Japanese National Men’s team, helping them qualify for the FIBA World Championship tournament in 1998.

After enduring what I’m sure he considered a longer than necessary apprenticeship, Casey got his first NBA head coaching job with Minnesota in 2005-2006. His team finished 33-49, but seemed to be turning the corner next season. The Timberwolves were a surprising 20-20 when Casey was abruptly fired. His replacement, Randy Wittman, provided a 12-30 record for the rest of ’06-’07. Well done, T-Wolves management…I’m sure your fans were thrilled with the results of that coaching change. Casey returned to assistant coaching, and won a championship ring with Dallas in ’10-’11. The Mavericks’ head coach, Rick Carlisle, pushed hard for Casey to get another NBA top job. Carlisle’s efforts were rewarded when Casey was offered the Raps’ gig by Bryan Colangelo, who had decided (correctly, in my view) that Jay Triano’s coaching wasn’t working any longer.

Casey enters his third season with the Raps, having produced a record of 23-43 in the strike-shortened ’11-’12 season, and 34-48 last. While a career mark of 110-160 (.394) won’t get you in the Basketball Hall of Fame unless you buy a ticket, it’s not disastrous either. We don’t know details of Casey’s relationship with new GM Masai Ujiri, but it can’t be a poor one. New GMs will, more often than not, bring in their own coach, but Ujiri is leaving well enough alone.

Can Dwane Casey keep his job in Toronto? And how do we know a coach is doing a good job? We’ll examine those questions, and peer into the crystal ball, in Part II of this “In Focus” tomorrow.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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Tags: Bryan Colangelo Dallas Mavericks Dwane Casey Masai Ujiri Minnesota Timberwolves Seattle Supersonics Toronto Raptors

  • StabbyRaccoon

    “Can Dwane Casey keep his job in Toronto? And how do we know a coach is doing a good job?”

    Good question! I’ll be reading part 2.
    I don’t know how he talks to his team but it doesn’t seem like he got on them enough about shot selection. They also blew a lot of leads and it’s the coach’s job to spot a weakness and correct it before the other team can exploit it.

    But on the other hand he was dealing with a very limited team last year, oftentimes having to rely far too much on injured and bench players. It’s not completely fair but it’s kind of unavoidable to judge a coach by his teams performance. That’s why I’m looking forward to part 2!

    • StabbyRaccoon

      i’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn’t use Alan Anderson as a major offensive option out of preference :)

      • Newmarket_Brian

        Using Alan as much as he did was forced upon him by the failure of DeMar to improve his 3-point shooting, and the mediocre rookie season of Terrence Ross.
        We so much need those two to have better seasons.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi SR:
      Shot selection is a tricky one. With a young team like last year’s Raps, we can expect some dubious decisions. However, the kids have to get experience, and they have to make mistakes to do so, as frustrating as that is to us fans. Oftentimes poor shots occur at the end of the shot clock, so we wonder whether the play-calling is causing a problem.
      You’re quite right about blown leads. Clearly that’s on the coach – Casey’s in-game decision making will be one of the major aspects I’ll consider in Part 2. I’m glad you’re looking forward to it, and I hope you’ll find it worth your while.
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  • cd hall

    What about some info on the new assistant coaches? Who are they working with?
    Who is working with the bigs on the low post? Who is working with the PG’s? Is one of the new coaches a shooting specialist? Who is handling the offence and why? etc. etc.