The Toronto Raptors were consistent winners under head coach Dwane Casey in the 2010s. Still, they were unable to get over the hump in the postseason, often thanks to the presence of LeBron James during his second go-around with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As such, Casey continues to have a mixed reputation among Raptors fans. While his name is all over the franchise record book due to his regular season success, his inability to get some talented Raptors teams to the NBA Finals prompted the switch to Nick Nurse.
The 2017-18 season was the year that crystallized in Masai Ujiri’s mind the fact that a change was necessary. While they blitzed through the Wizards in the first round, James’ Cavs swept them in four games. Fans finally got an inside look at why Casey continued to struggle for so long.
Former Raptors center Lucas Nogueira posted pictures of Toronto’s scouting reports on some of the biggest names in the 2018 playoffs, including LeBron. The fact that Casey and his staff pegged LeBron as a “below average” ball-handler defender speaks volumes as to why they got torched so easily.
Dwane Casey’s Toronto Raptors struggled in the playoffs.
While there isn’t much to critique about James, nor are there tons of ways to exploit him in a postseason scenario, it seems weird that someone who could have easily won a Defensive Player of the Year award in his Miami tenure is being regarded as a non-factor by Casey and the Raptors.
Nogueira also included scouring reports on John Wall and Bradley Beal, highlighting the fact that Wall is at his best driving to the rim and Beal is an elite isolation scorer. At least these reports helped contribute to victory, unlike Casey’s insight on James.
Even though Casey never got the team over the hump, the fact he was such a consistent playoff presence shows he has some level of quality coaching acumen. The fact that he was so dismissible of a player like James’ defense is incredibly puzzling, yet somehow expected considering the results.
Hopefully, the scouting reports provided by Nurse are a bit more in-depth and comprehensive than what was being given out under Casey. Considering how Toronto picked up a ring the following year, it looks like they must have learned their lesson and been a bit more extensive in this area.