Dwane Casey has been the Raptors bench boss during their most successful period in franchise history. Even so, the time may have come for a change.
In the aftermath of yet another disappointing post-season run for the Toronto Raptors, no one’s job is safe. There’s a lot of chatter among disgruntled fans to the effect that coach Dwane Casey needs to find somewhere else to work. If he won’t resign, those cranky people believe team President Masai Ujiri should make the decision for him.
While I’m not to the point of joining in the “Fire Casey” calls, there’s an argument to be made. Let’s see where it leads.
“pound the rock” forever?
Dwane Casey built his reputation as a defensive coach. The problem for so many of us is his seeming refusal to pay more attention to the other side of the ball. He coaches like the era of pace and space is a fad.
Coach Casey also believes (or appears to) that his time will come in the playoffs, where customarily defenses tighten up, rookies don’t get any minutes, and as a result scores go down. There’s an easy rebuttal to that line of complacent thinking: why haven’t the Raptors advanced further than the Eastern Conference finals in the past 4 seasons? If Casey’s defensive approach will bear its juiciest fruit in the post-season, why is Casey’s record 17-24?
Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, in the course of an excellent article about fouls being called on 3-point shots, rolled out this eye-popping statistic: the number of 3-point attempts in the NBA has increased 90.2% from the 2002-03 season to the one just ended.
For many years, a 3-pointer was what you tried under two circumstances: the shot or quarter clock was expiring, or you were down a bunch of points. I’ve seen players get taken off the floor as punishment for taking 3-balls…but not recently.
More scoring, or else
Here’s a head-to-head comparison of the Raptors and Golden State Warriors. The Raptors outdefend the Warriors by 1.7 points per game, but they outscore our team by 9(!). Our players are watching the post-season on TV, and GSW is 9-0 so far.
Enough – you get the point. I suspect most of you knew it before I made it. Unless the Raptors coaching staff can figure out how to rack up more points, we’re going to be on a treadmill. That’s no way to climb the championship mountain.
What I don’t know is whether Dwane Casey’s heart is in the quest for more scoring. We’ll know as soon as pre-season games get rolling. If we’re seeing DeMar DeRozan in the corner, waiting to be the recipient of passes on drive & dish plays, if our center(s) is taking longer shots, if the paint is unclogged when Kyle Lowry (we can hope) goes one on one…then we’ll know a fresh breeze has blown through the Raptors playbook.
Otherwise, Masai Ujiri will be compelled to make the move he’d like least – a mid-season coaching change.