I sat down ready to write my daily post on my lunch break today and checked Twitter to see what was trending. I was greeted with a Woj Bomb from nine minutes prior stating that the Toronto Raptors were firing Dwane Casey. I can understand why they made the move after getting LeBron’d again, but that doesn’t make Toronto’s problems a fault of Casey’s coaching.
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FOR three straight seasons Toronto has met the Cavaliers in the playoffs eager to prove themselves only to crash and burn. For all their promise and excitement around their team, the Cavs hold a 12-2 ledger over the Raptors in the past three series, sweeping them in back-to-back years. I genuinely thought that this would be the year they overcame their arch-rivals and even though a 4-0 series meant my Cavs advanced I still feel bad for the tortured personnel and fans on the receiving end of the sweep.
AFTER their dramatic failure, Casey was the guy most people tabbed to be the fall guy and there may be more dominoes to fall in the offseason after the Raptors collapse. Make no mistake though Dwane Casey can god damn coach. There is little doubt that Casey is the most successful coach in the franchise’s history, yet he failed to deliver the ultimate winning postseason, which led to his demise after seven seasons north of the border. He helped transform the franchise from a defensive nightmare and a 22-win team to an Eastern Conference finalist. However, it wasn’t enough.
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ALL the talk of Casey helping to revolutionise their offense is down the toilet along with their season filled with so much promise and hope. Some see it as a necessary evil in order for Toronto to fix their problems. I disagree. It’s very easy to point the finger at the coach, who admittedly may have been outcoached by Ty Lue over the last fortnight (wow did I really just write that?), but there is only so much that you can do from the sidelines. Casey has a winning record against anyone NOT named LeBron in the playoffs but his 2-12 ledger against the Cavs and the King killed him.
WHAT cost Casey his job may have been their heartbreaking Game 1 loss. A lot of their confidence left the building after that 113-112 OT loss and when Cleveland blew them out in Game 2 the series was as good as done. Toronto is now left with their head in their hands as they ponder the future of the team. Not only are they looking for a new head coach now, but the rumour mill is churning, suggesting that All-Star’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan should be the next ones out the door. They lack cap flexibility and without a serious third threat who can drop 20+ on the odd night (sorry Serge but you aren’t that guy) then their ceiling may just be an annual second-round appearance. We could see them clean house and start again, but I think there will be at least one run left in these guys.
WHATEVER their direction is next year we now know that Casey won’t be a part of it. It is quite sad that the best period in the Raptors franchise is up in flames and they don’t have a hell of a lot to show for it. Casey will be fine though. He’ll land on his feet and be coaching the Kings or the Thunder or the Nets in 12 months time. The same can’t be said for Toronto though. Casey may have honestly just been thrown a lifeboat to abandon a sinking ship and as much as it hurts, he might honestly be thanking the club years from now.
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