Toronto Raptors v Golden State Warriors

Earlier today we quickly discussed how Masai Ujiri’s front office staff is beginning to take shape, and now it looks like his coaching staff will soon follow suit, as Ujiri officially announced on Wednesday that Dwane Casey will be back as head coach next season.

ā€œIā€™m excited about moving forward and growing this team with Coach Casey,ā€ Ujiri said via press release.

The release also states that “an announcement will be made in the future regarding the club’s assistant coaching staff.”

The news shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who paid attention to Ujiri’s introductory press conference, where the Raptors’ new GM said that he didn’t see any reason why not to let Casey continue on in 2013-14, which happens to be the final year of the coach’s contract.

To me, this was the right call. Casey over-achieved in his first year on the job, hurting the Raptors’ draft positioning in the process, but he took a roster that had posted historically awful defensive metrics in previous years and turned them into a respectable middle of the pack defensive team that became known for tougher play and resilience.

Of course, much to all of our frustrations, Casey wasn’t as willing as we all were to give young players like Jonas Valanciunas all of his hard earned minutes on 2012-13, and the team got off to a painfully slow start that essentially knocked them out of playoff contention and relevancy early in the season…again.

I won’t deny that some of Casey’s substitution patterns and rotation decisions last season were frustrating to watch, but it’s also important to remember that once he got back to coaching the team in a style more reflective of his own philosophy, an athletic young roster looked pretty good under his guidance.

Dwane still deserves his share of the blame for the 4-19 start (and even some of the close losses later in the season), but I do wonder how much of that rough start had to do with Casey trying to meet assumed offensive benchmarks set by Bryan Colangelo and coaching outside of his comfort level because of it.

Just some food for thought as we prepare to enter Year Three of the Casey Era.

Comments (24)

  1. If the team gets off to a slow start he’s gone right?

    • It depends on what the plan and expectations are for this season. If Ujiri decides to take a step back and rebuild, then a slow start and a poor record might be part of the “plan” anyway.

      But if Ujiri makes a move or two to position this team to move forward next season, and they still get off to a very poor start, then I’d consider Casey to be on the hot seat.

  2. I still think this arrangement will create more problems than it will solve unless Casey had some approach altering epiphany during his conversation with Ujiri.

    We know he’ll still try to win every game especially now that his future is uncertain maybe even at the expense of some of the younger players and we know he’s not going to radically change his approach in any way to coincide with what direction the front office goes on.

    It’s eerily similar to the Colangelo/Mitchell dynamic when BC was hired, sure BC had no loyalty to Mitchell just like Ujiri doesn’t to Casey, but if the team overachieves, you basically tie yourself to a guy you probably didn’t want to build long-term with. Not sure why this organization loves to create these completely unnecessary potential problems.

    • The thing is, and this is purely a talking point not an actual report or anything, if Ujiri makes moves that only leave Casey with the pieces he sees as young core pieces, then it leaves DC with no other options but to play said young players.

      Also, while Colangelo was never fully committed to a FULL-on rebuild and never wanted to publicly commit to one, Ujiri would make things perfectly clear for all involved if he does, indeed, decide that a rebuild is necessary. And if Casey is told that his job IS to play young guys as part of a rebuild, I think he would do it.

    • Here we go again…. You don’t even know what direction Ujiri will be going in with this team moving forward. I’m pretty sure he has a better idea than you as to what coach he needs for this team. God forbid we have a coach who tries to win every game. Get the sand out of your vagina and stop complaining.

  3. The first year Casey is more comparable to his coach abilities then the second year Casey. In the first season, BC sat back knowing the team wasn’t a play-off team and let Casey do his thing and things went well. Last year, BC thought he had a play-off team and called more shots unlike Casey’s first year. Casey had no choice but to listen and follow suit. Even Sam Mitchel admitted that him and BC butted heads because BC was having too much say in the coaching decisions or at least wanted too much say. Lots of those “bad rotations’ were on Casey figuring out and learning in game time how to make the team more offensive minded on BC’s call.
    I’m with Ujiri, Casey deserve another shot at being the coach he can be with out interruption. He just might get an extension.

  4. DC was frustrating to watch, i think raps were a playoff if not for him and his stupid coaching decisions, he set up raps badly as if they had poorer record. They would have got lillard or barnes or someone. Then stupid BC would have not needed to trade for lowry (although i like him), plus he would have not traded for gay (the hero this city deserves). The raps would have been gracefully rebuilding and would have got top 5 pick in 2014, meaning shot at wiggins, parker, or harrison.

  5. Gays a hero ? Surely you jest ?

    • I was making refernce to batman, city does not want to be saved same thing w/ toronto they prefer to be mediocre than tank

  6. I figured it was sarcasm , just had to make sure .

  7. Constantly cycling through coaches does nothing. I think in order to see the potential you have to let them coach (without someone giving you orders all the time, which I think BC was doing in regards to playing time).

    I’m confident he’ll do a better job this coming season once a real roster is set in place for him to use.

  8. My biggest problem with casey was his idiotic sub patterns. Quite frankly, they made no sense. Playing aaron gray over val? Cmon, no excuse for that. AA over ross? Im not a fan of ross but still made no sense. The team was crap last year and casey failed to even play the young guys so they can develop. Also, D was worse and o was abysmal. Im not surprised by this decision but casey should be on a REALLY short leash.

    • I definitely felt the same frustration with regards to the minutes of the youngsters, but your last point about the defence being worse and the offence being “abysmal” just isn’t true. The defence dropped from 12th to 22nd in terms of defensive efficiency from 2011-12 to 2012-13, but the five-man unit of Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Johnson and Valanciunas was the fifth-best defensive unit in the NBA this season.

      And I especially don’t understand where your evaluation of the offence is coming from. Don’t get me wrong, this team was far from being an offensive juggernaut, but they also improved from 25th in 2011-12 to 14th in 2012-13 in terms of offensive efficiency. That’s not exactly “abysmal.” In fact, it’s in the top-half of the league and is pretty much right around average.

      • Joseph Casciaro (JC) I can say your past few comments have been very accurate. Points have been presented with facts to prove the point. Watching the raptors this past season the raptors took a step back defensively and a step forward on offence, this should have been clear for even the average fan but thats neither here nor there.

        The starting five you mentioned above is a pretty good starting five, however the team is capped out and your first two men off the bench are Andrea n T-Ross meaning that this team is at best a 4 seed (we’ll wait to see what happens in the offseason and for Lowry to get hurt and the playoffs will be a reach). UM (the new GM) can stay on the current course and take this BC roster and try to make the playoffs however I believe UM is smarter than that and will do a rebuild. Lowry (6.2) expires after the upcoming season and Amir (7) n Rudy (19) n Andrea (12) the year after that, will the Raps sell all assets to finally do a rebuild or simply not resign players?

        Since following the raps for the past two decades (Griz fan till the move) the one thing the raps are the best at is winning those worthless games at the end of the year instead of tanking for more lotto balls. This past season was no exception with an 8-2 finish, atleast we didn’t have a pick so it didn’t matter.

        Let’s all put our faith in the Messiah!!!

  9. The rotations and “veteran playing” time was all BC giving that call, not Casey. Casey deserves a year with just him doing his thing, I think he will do well.

  10. Sly is a clown!

  11. Man, I’m a dummy, completely missed the tidbit Joseph mentioned about Ujiri basically overhauling the whole coaching staff.

    I guess that’s why Casey was brought back, not only does Ujiri think he’s a capable coach but he pretty much did everything Ujiri asked. Not sure how I feel, if you’re going to keep the coach, you might as well keep the guys he’s comfortable with.

  12. As usual,
    Dwayne Casey misses are Brain Colangelo misses.
    Casey can’t take resposability for what he does or not.
    Go ahead, guys, with this beautiful Obama style Head Duo!!!

  13. how many times was ed davis having a career game when he was starting for awhile there and was pulled out for aron gray to finish off the 4th q . sometimes i think BC was appart of some crapp rotaions but casey is still the one with the draing board . ed davis double double shooting 8-10 playing solid D . doesnt see a seconed of floor time in the 4th. and a this talk with guys will be rewarded for hard work and goood defence ? guess thats why barny played so much !

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