Four reasons why we love the Toronto Raptors new head coach, Dwane Casey
After three weeks of surprisingly little speculation over who the Toronto Raptors’ new bench boss would be, the team made the official announcement on Tuesday: former Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey would be replacing Jay Triano at the helm. While it’s tough to get too excited about anything to do with the Raps these days, the signing is a real coup for Bryan Colangelo. The Raptors president and general manager has made a number of questionable moves since coming to town almost five years ago, but he may just be able to hang his $3,000 suit on this one. Sure, we had our hopes up for Jeff Van Gundy, but we’re the first to admit that was a long shot, considering that Toronto isn’t exactly the most desirable NBA destination these days. But in Casey, who is one of the most sought-after coaches in the league, the Raps get a similarly defence-minded leader (with a significantly lower price tag), and a man hungry to prove that he can learn from his coaching past and transform the culture of a downtrodden basketball club. Four reasons why we love the Raptors’ newest addition, after the jump.
Casey is a defensive-first kind of guy. That’s a good thing for a team that easily has the worst defence in the NBA, giving up an adjusted 110 points per game (but hey, it’s down from the 110.2 points they were giving up two years ago!).
2. We watched the NBA finals
The Mavericks successfully thwarted a murderer’s row of scoring machines, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, en route to the NBA title, thanks in large part to Casey’s defensive schemes. Casey is unafraid to make major adjustments late in the game, and his zone defence is considered the main reason the Mavs were able to roll past the Miami Heat.
3. The pedigree
Casey was a student of the legendary George Karl, serving as his assistant on the Seattle SuperSonics team that made it to the 1996 NBA finals. Prior to his stint with the Mavs, Casey enjoyed moderate success as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he went 20-20 with a lacklustre roster before being inexplicably fired (the T’Wolves finished that season 12-30 under Casey’s replacement).
4. Just in time for draft day
As Sportsnet’s Michael Grange pointed out yesterday, Casey isn’t afraid to get involved with personnel moves. So his appointment, just in the nick of time for tonight’s NBA draft, could very well be a blessing. Although this year’s draft class is one the weakest in over a decade, the Raptors now have even more of an incentive to go after a defence-oriented player, like San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard or Congalese centre Bismack Biyombo. But knowing the Raps, they’re just as likely to draft this guy named Jan.