Toronto Raptors: Dwane Casey extension proves firing was best move for all

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 29: Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 29: Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

After years of mediocrity that even Hall of Fame coaches like Lenny Wilkens were unable to drag them out of, the Toronto Raptors finally became a consistent playoff fixture thanks to head coach Dwane Casey. After floundering as the main man in Minnesota, Casey helped the Raptors make the playoffs in five straight seasons before Nick Nurse came along.

Despite the fact that he won Coach of the Year in his final season with Toronto, another loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason prompted the firing of Casey and the hiring of Nurse.

While Nurse led the Raptors to a championship in his first season on the job, Casey landed on his feet with the Detroit Pistons. While the Pistons have slipped from a fringe playoff team to one of the worst teams in the league, GM Troy Weaver thinks highly enough of Casey to secure his services for next season.

Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that even after their poor season, Detroit is signing Casey to an extension that keeps him as the head coach through the 2023-24 season. Raptors fans should like seeing Casey find his footing elsewhere considering what he means to this franchise.

Former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey has found a home in Detroit.

Casey has gone 81-172 with the Pistons, which makes for an uninspired 37% winning percentage, but he is overseeing a very lengthy rebuild centered around Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and whomever they end up taking with their top pick in this draft.

Part of Casey’s appeal is how he has been able to mentor young players and set them up for success down the line. When he came to Toronto, the Raptors were an undisciplined assortment of loose, yet talented, pieces that Casey helped organize into a winner. Ultimately, Detroit thinks he can replicate that magic.

What punched Casey’s ticket out of Toronto was the fact that in the postseason, his mojo kept fizzling out. Sure, expecting teams that started Luis Scola and Cory Joseph to defend LeBron and Kyrie Irving is almost impossible, but not even a Coach of the Year award could prevent Ujiri from making the switch to Nurse. It took guts, but the Raptors don’t regret that for a second.

The Pistons have a very long rebuild ahead of them, and they seem to be sold on Casey’s leadership ability. Meanwhile, his replacement in Nurse ended up winning a championship as soon as he left. This move has been mutually beneficial for both parties, and it should have them set up for success in the future.

Next. 3 free agents to help the frontcourt. dark