Bad things come in threes – Raptors’ Casey on thin ice?


Your Correspondent doesn’t hold with superstition, but I’ve always been intrigued with the old saw about how bad things come in threes. Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is likewise a rational, well-educated man, though he couldn’t be blamed for feeling more than the normal degree of tension these days.

Is Casey close to being fired? Let’s consider three things, none of which augur well for his future.

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The west coast trip has been a disaster so far. In all three losses, the Raptors have enjoyed Q4 leads, then coughed them up. Precious few teams have thrown a scare into the undefeated Golden State Warriors, yet the Raptors nudged ahead in Q4, but couldn’t sustain. There’s no shame to be had, particularly since the Raptors may have been burned by dubious refereeing. However, fumbling away wins in Sacramento and Utah doesn’t look good on the resume.

November 17, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey (right) instructs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 115-110. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Two players whom the Raptors were counting on to hold the fort have been disastrous. Patrick Patterson can’t shoot to save his life. I know I should count and report on the number of 3-point misses he’s had recently, but I’m not a lover of pain, so I won’t. Terrence Ross made one basket in his last three games, and now is sidelined with a mysterious thumb injury. [20-second timeout: I’m not implying he’s faking. As Jack Armstrong has accurately said on many occasions “You can play if you’re hurt, but you can’t if you’re injured”. A basketball player with troubles in his extremities (i.e., hand in TRoss’ case, foot in DeMarre Carroll’s) has to sit. Those are injuries.] 

None of Anthony Bennett, Norman Powell or Bismack Biyombo have been able to make any kind of an offensive contribution. Only the fine play of Cory Joseph has kept the Raptors’ rotation from being a complete embarrassment.


Coach McHale had been retained over the summer, rewarded for a fine season and playoff run with a hefty contract. The Rox will have to eat the deal’s final 2+ seasons (which is an indication of how much money NBA teams have these days – one of them will pay $11 million for 11 games). There are a substantial number of coaches who entered this year on the hot seat; McHale is the first, but probably not the last, who has paid with his job for his team’s shabby play.

NBA teams are copycats, though they frequently wait until someone else makes the first move. I don’t think Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri is anyone’s puppet, particularly since his corporate masters in MLSE appear to have little clue who’s going to be minding the store once Tim Leiwicke finally moves on. In short, Dwane is the one under the gun, not Masai. If he thinks his coach’s time is up, he’ll pull the trigger.

I don’t like the thought of a coaching change early in the season. But the odds of it happening soon have never been greater.

Next: Outcoached in Sacramento

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.