It sounds like a done deal that Casey is staying. Is it the right move to keep Casey on board? Well, before we get into that I do remember a time when I couldn’t wait for the Raptors to replace Casey. His first two seasons with the Raptors were horrendous. He lost when he should have won, he won when he should have lost and worst of all, he NEVER went for two for ones at the end of a quarter! Almost as bad was the fact that they lost a lot of close games those first couple seasons. When a team has a really bad record in games that are within five points or less then you can’t help but put some blame on the coach for not pulling out a few more wins in those close situations.
Then there was the playoffs. Getting swept by Washington was a tough pill to swallow for a city so badly hurting for a playoff series win. If Toronto had managed to win that series against Washington we would have played against Atlanta who we match up very well against during the regular season. If we somehow pull that series win off then we go on to play a Cleveland team with no Love, an injured Irving and a somewhat aging LBJ. That being said I don’t think we could have pulled it off but you never know. So could Casey have done things differently? Was it Casey’s fault that we lost and got swept? There are a few things that stood out to me. The first and foremost was the lack of minutes for my man James Johnson. That to me is the one thing really irked me more than anything else. J.J. has been a game changer so many times this season and to not really give him a chance was frustrating.
But then we have our positives about Dwane Casey. The Raptors finished with their best regular season record ever with 49 wins. Won their division back to back seasons and also made the playoffs back to back seasons. Casey has always stayed a professional. Even when coaching the likes of Andrea Bargnani, Casey always kept his cool. I noticed an increase of success out of timeouts for well executed plays. The team started winning a lot of those close games (games within five points in the last couple of minutes). His substitutions starting making a lot more sense and one of my personal favorites is that he started doing on a regular basis the two for one at the end of quarters when possible!
Here is his coaching record as provided by www.basketball-reference.com:
That is a very positive trend going from win percentages of .348 to .415 and then jumping up to .585 and 5.98. The best part is that our core is intact, we have cap space by shedding a number of big salaries and our group of mostly young players should continue to improve and develop this offseason. All arrows are pointing up for this team. Zarar Siddiqi from Raptors Republic made a good comment in one of his recent articles as well saying that firing a coach that just led the team to the best record in franchise history would most likely be looked down upon by the league and possibly players as well. Has Casey made some mistakes? Yes. But I’ve seen growth, development and the potential to take this team to the next level and I’m all for giving him the support to continue to build on what he’s done for the team these past few years.