I come back from vacation to find Dwane Casey installed as the Raptors head coach. The rumours of the last two weeks gradually ushered the surprise out of the hiring, and it’s now being viewed as a sensible one by just about everybody, with Casey’s assurances about his commitment to defense easing our fears. We Raptors fans are a simple breed who have taken Casey’s words to be the short-term antidote for our sickly squad. It doesn’t take much to convince us. Give an assurance that defense comes first. Check. Vow to inject a sense of professionalism. Check. Value respect over likability. Check. That’s all it takes.

When Jay Triano was “promoted” to the front office leaving a coaching vacancy in place, the universal cry was for a coach with “pedigree”. This naturally brought names like Jeff van Gundy, Rick Adelman to the fore, the thinking being that respectability and authority needed to be imported. It was a logical line of reasoning that was even endorsed by Bryan Colangelo, yet we end up with Casey who has all but a year and a half of head coaching experience. Of course, his ventures as an assistant have advocated him praise across the league, but it doesn’t change the cold hard fact that he is a relative novice when it comes to managing a team.

Let this article not be misconstrued as a criticism of the hiring, I fully support it for the reasons mentioned earlier: I like what Casey’s saying. More importantly, I understand it. The Raptors have chosen to cultivate their identity through Casey instead of bringing in an experienced head coach. Maybe they didn’t have a choice as it’s hard to imagine Van Gundy giving up a cushy TV job to muddle around with lottery teams, or Adelman abandoning his pursuit of a front-office role in favor of tinkering with NBA unknowns. Casey has been hired to be an intrinsic part of the rebuild, which an experienced head coach simply couldn’t have been.

Somebody wise once told me to have kids early so you can grow up with them instead of just looking after them. That’s what Casey is to the Raptors, a mentor who is still learning how to be a head coach and will look after the flock as he goes through his own maturation process. It will result in a bond that is stronger than if the Raptors had hired a highly paid individual whose reputation preceded him. Casey appears to have a very particular plan, one which is rooted in defense and embodied by a total commitment to the cause. He doesn’t sound like he will tolerate that lack of seriousness exhibited by too many a Raptors player, which is a welcome change. Of course, Sam Mitchell was also thought of in the same vein early in his time in Toronto, the difference being that Casey comes with a playbook and philosophy in hand.

Bryan Colangelo needs to be applauded on two accounts. First, for removing Triano on his own accord without any outside pressure being applied. He recognized the holes in Triano’s coaching technique and the lax way he handled players, and sought to change both for the better. If Triano had started next season as head coach there wouldn’t be too much antagonism against him, likely due to the fan base being conditioned to accept him. Second, Colangelo went against the grain in hiring Casey. I fully believe Colangelo when he says that Casey’s line of thinking is aligned with his own new-found emphasis on defense. In hiring Casey he has made the more difficult decision of ignoring popular consensus and chosen the man whose philosophy he now subscribes to.

As David Thorpe mentioned when discussing Dwane Casey, before we delve into strategies, rotations and personnel, there needs to be an environment that breeds seriousness and professionalism. I use that word a lot – seriousness – and I don’t think I do it enough. Last season’s development project yielded improvements in DeMar DeRozan and a few other positives, but what it didn’t deliver was an archetype of team management that would hold players accountable, confront them when needed, and provide the over-arching framework in which a rebuilding program can succeed. The only gripe I have with a new coach being put in place is that, in hindsight, it should have come a year earlier when the reconstruction began in earnest (forget the delusions of playoff contentions in training camp).

Everybody deserves a chance and Casey will get his second one in Toronto. He’s not a proven commodity as the main man yet, it very well could be that he’s a good assistant but a bad head coach, much like Jim Cleamons, Marc Iavaroni and Kurt Rambis. For now though, Casey is saying what Raptors fans want to hear and Dallas’ title-winning season is lending his words more credence, much like when Clemons left Chicago for the Dallas coaching job after the Bulls’ 1995-96 championship season.

Tonight’s draft should paint a better picture of where this team is headed and what Casey’s first imprint on the club will be, looking forward to it. See you tonight at St. Louis Bar & Grill (528 Yonge St. – Yonge/Wellesley) at 6:30 PM. We’ll pick a winner for our little contest at 1 PM.

There’s plenty of stories/rumours in the forums including Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Leandro Barbosa and more. Of more relevance is the Bismack Biyombo medical red flag and that Valanciunas’ buyout is $2.5M.

See you tonight, and if you can’t make it there’s the live chat which starts in earnest at 6:45 PM, but who am I to stop you from going in there now.

  • Nilanka15

    I think it was Doug Smith who asked Casey if he believes his resume would speak louder to players than his championship ring.  Casey suggested his large body of work (mainly as an assistant coach) would carry the most weight, but I honestly think that championship ring is what’ll make players listen. 

    If Dallas was eliminated in the 1st round, we would probably be discussing the pros/cons of Lawrence Frank right now.  Casey’s championship is the reason he’s being introduced to Toronto as some sort of saviour.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      BC is all about image over reality playing contracts over talent.

      Media hype =’s hypnotizing minds.

      The Casey hiring is no surprise here especially since BC loves to compare his Golden Child AB to Dirk. 

  • Nilanka15

    I would be disappointed if Knight was selected over Walker.  But I would much rather have Knight over Biyombo with the 5th pick.

    • WJF

      I am with you about Biyombo, but I would rather Knight over Walker. 

    • mountio

      Agreed. We can not take Biyombo at 5 under any circumstances. If we trade down / get another pick in the 10ish zone, im totally fine with him. I like Knight over Kemba (not sure Kemba is ever more than an ok guy, whos slightly undersized, can score in bunches from time to time, of which there are dozens in the league), but can live with either because I do by into the excitement Kemba will bring in the next year or so (just not sure hes the right long term piece).
      Very very weary of Kanter.

      • KJ-B

        Just say ‘No!!!’ to Bismarckee…

    • Mediumcore

      No worries, Knight will be off the board by the time Toronto picks at #5. Time to usher in the Kemba & Derozan era! Should make for some exciting ball next year.

      • Lucas Lopes

        I don’t. If the Jazz pick Kanter at #3, Knight will be available at #5

  • KJ-B

    VESELY!!!!! Yes, yes, I’ve been biggin’ him up since like January 2nite after 4-top-picks-exiting-the-draft-later my wish might just come true… On the Casey front, I think he immediately relates better to the core of the team, Davis/DeRozan/Johnson & Johnson…maybe Bayless. In the presser he said that “defending DeRozan” was the hardest part of prepping for Toronto–he only brought up #7’s name when asked for the most part…

    I’d say that numero siete is on a very short leash–one would like to think he can turn it around, as we’ve seen with his “flashes” but he’s got a history of underperforming/laziness to be frank…If it takes a guy with bling like Casey to get a certain cement-sneaker pick ‘n roll duo finally traded outta here, I’M ALL FOR IT!!!

  • Tim

    God Bless BC
    Every Draft, he talks about acquiring another pick and … gets the Fan Club all excited and then …. NOTHING  :) :) Typicall BC :) :)

    Even in this Weak Draft where alot of teams wants to move out of the draft he was not able to make anything happen, Why? because he has NO chips to trade with.

    This is the result of signing Crappy Players over the Last 5 Years.

  • onemanweave

    We’re kicking around our likes and dislikes re: the draft and there are some pretty strong opinions.
        The draft is researched guesswork.  However, if Brian Colangelo and his staff aren’t better able to research it more thoroughly than the arm chair experts on this blog, he is truly inept.
        I respect the fact that two of his four ‘final’ choices appear to be Biyombo or Valanciunas.  Both could be abysmal failures or mind-blowing successes. No one knows. Maybe BC is putting up a smoke screen.
        However, if BC and his staff are willing to draft someone that will draw cries of rage from fans, ownership and others who aren’t as well informed, given the two-year time line he’s been given — GOOD FOR HIM.
        To me, it shows he’s more concerned with actual improvement for his team than political compromise that might keep his job.

  • JustletBCdowhatheispaidfor

    Casey said Bargnani and Derozan are the core of the team. Period

  • arsenalist

    Big Board 3.0 coming up shortly.

  • cb

    this paragraph bothers me:

    “Bryan Colangelo needs to be applauded on two accounts. First, for
    removing Triano on his own accord without any outside pressure being
    applied. He recognized the holes in Triano’s coaching technique and the
    lax way he handled players, and sought to change both for the better.
    If Triano had started next season as head coach there wouldn’t be too
    much antagonism against him, likely due to the fan base being
    conditioned to accept him.”

    I just don’t get either point here. BC ‘applauded’ for yet another mistake that — in classic, tired refrain of his ‘apologists’ — he was recognized and fixed… look, JT was a terrible hire from the get go. We all knew (except for those who feel like Canadian citizenship is somehow on its own a qualification for the job). He accomplished absolutely nothing in his tenure. no players improved. the team was by any account the worst defensive team in NBA history. we developed not sense of what it takes to win in the league and we continued to coddle one-dimensional players. The only accurate description of this era is ‘disgusting’. how anyone can defend or endorse anything that’s happened with this team over the last few years is simply beyond me. all i can think is that they must never have known themselves what winning takes.

    and as for the final sentence; i do agree that hacks like doug smith, eric smith, leo rautins et al were in large part responsible for the ‘conditioning’ of the casual fanbase to JT’s tenure. ANd it’s exactly this bias and inexpert reporting and broadcasting that we need to actively work towards improving as this franchise moves forward. basketball will likely always be the forgotten sport in canada because of the jingoistic fealty this sad, puck head nation imbues on the pugilistic scrum called hockey, but that’s no excuse at all for not providing the best talent on air to inform and report (with actual facts, research and competent spelling and grammar doug smith. calling it a ‘blog’ doesn’t excuse you from these basic requirements if you’re going to call yourself a ‘professional reporter’. sigh) to the fanbase on the team.

    sigh. at least we know in two years we’ll have a new GM and then we can start to actually hope for some semblance of credibility as a franchise in the greatest league on earth: THE NBA!

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      Jay was nothing but BC’s puppet coach doing exactly what BC said- playing time/rotations, right down to the letter like a Company Man (as per Jack Armstrong) would do.

      Plus Jay lost the 1st 2 NBA games played in London- to the lowly Nets at that.

      As well, BC controls most of the TDot sports media in relation to Rap’s particulars reported by them so we the fans get spoon feed mostly generic bullchit propaganda ie 1st Canadian NBA head coach, on the regular.

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

        ‘Bryan Colangelo needs to be applauded on two accounts. First, for removing Triano on his own accord without any outside pressure being applied.

        He recognized the holes in Triano’s coaching technique and the lax way he handled players, and sought to change both for the better.

        If Triano had started next season as head coach there wouldn’t be too much antagonism against him, likely due to the fan base being conditioned to accept him.

        Second, Colangelo went against the grain in hiring Casey.

        I fully believe Colangelo when he says that Casey’s line of thinking is aligned with his own new-found emphasis on defense.

        In hiring Casey he has made the more difficult decision of ignoring popular consensus and chosen the man whose philosophy he now subscribes to.’

        I call 100% complete Bullchit on that statement both points 1 & 2.lmfao

        After hearing them both talk about Andrea & Jose it more of the same ol same w/ AB as the team’s star player at that.

        • Nilanka15

          It’s possible that those Bargnani/Calderon statements by both Casey and Colangelo were part of a damange-control campaign to improve their value in the trade market…

          The only thing for certain is that nothing is for certain.

          • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

            I hope that they (BC & Casey) are trying to improve their (Jose, AB) trade value- time will tell.

    • cesco

      Stop posting here for the next two years , you are criticising everyone : fans (a sad puck head nation), bloggers ( should improve their grammar ), players (no improvements , one dimensional)  and management ( make too many mistakes) . See you later . By, by . 

  • SteveB

    Jeff van Gundy, Rick Adelman are out of reach, why are you people even mentioning them –  it’s like let’s get Howard for our center!?

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      None of those top level coaches were coming here as they see that BC has fucked up the Rap’s and is on a short 2 year lease with a Team Option on a 3rd year leash.

      Who wants to coach a team w/ Andrea as the star player?

  • guest15

    In espn’s mock draft 7.0 they had Brandon Knight selected for us.

    • KJ-B

      Yah, I’m seeing everywhere that the Jazz has decided on Kanter–if that happens, Knight’s a steal comparable to DeRozan + Davis–that’d be 3 in a row for BryCo..!

    • Dan

      do u have link for that ?

      • mountio

        Its insider – but here is a paste of the relevant stuff: I would be very happy if it plays out this way.
        1) Irving
        I know there’s still some uncertainty out there. There always is. But all signs continue to point to Irving as the No. 1 pick. He has a chance to be special and, in this draft, that makes him worthy of going this high.
        The Cavs may not love what’s left for them at No. 4, but at least they walk away feeling that they got the best player in the draft.
        2) Williams
        The Wolves will work the phones until the last minute looking for a trade. If they keep the pick? They are considering Enes Kanter and started telling teams around the league on Wednesday that they’re leaning in that direction.
        I can see the appeal of Kanter. He probably fits a need more. But Williams is the second-best talent in this draft and I think talent ultimately trumps need, so they’ll take Williams and sort it out later this summer.
        3) Kanter
        GM Kevin O’Connor is now issuing his famous “no comment” when asked about what the Jazz will do here. They are one of the most tight-lipped teams in the league. They aren’t leaking who they’ll take at No. 3.
        So why did I change this from Brandon Knight to Kanter? Because it’s hard to get legit centers in the league, especially ones with Kanter’s upside. So are point guards, which is why Knight could be the pick. But as of very early Thursday, I think the Jazz will go with size and upside and Kanter.
        4) Valauncinous
        We had Valanciunas in this position last week. But on Monday we reported that Valanciunas’ buyout with his team in Lithuania would prohibit him from coming to the NBA next season.
        The Cavs love Valanciunas, but do they love him enough to draft him even if he won’t be coming to the NBA right away? There are growing signals that they do. Valanciunas was in Cleveland on Tuesday meeting with Cavs brass. They conducted a physical and a workout as well which has seemingly calmed their fears.
        But another serious dark horse here is Tristan Thompson. As I reported on Wednesday, Thompson met with owner Dan Gilbert in Cleveland on Monday, and the Cavs are intrigued. As I gather more info, this is one spot where the mock could change in Version 7.1.
        5) Knight
        GM Bryan Colangelo has been looking for defensive help, and I had been hearing over the past 24 hours that Bismack Biyombo and Kawhi Leonard had risen on the Raptors’ board. But if Knight slides this far, I don’t think they’ll pass.
        Knight has tremendous upside, is a good defender in his own right and, alongside DeMar DeRozan, would give the Raptors an intriguing young backcourt.
        6) Vesley
        7) Walker
        8) T Thomson
        9) Leonard
        10) K Thomson11) Bismack

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      Brandon Knight is a shorter Larry Hughes- do the math.

  • OneLuv

    Raptors most pressing need now is a true center and I could live with them taking Biyombo. What other options are there? They don’t have any pieces to trade for a quality center, if even there were quality centers available, and forget about picking up one as a free agent. The only other options would be  to draft Valanciunas and hope they can get a buy out, or trade down and take a center like Vucevic, but seeing that they did not even call him in for a workout this is an unlikely scenario.

    Also, if I was Dwane Casey, I would be on the phone to Calderon and advising him to get his ass in LA and working with a John Lucas or some other trainer to build up his strength and conditioning as his injury prone status is more of a concern than his defense.

    BTW, I think Tom Thibodeau broke the mold on a “pedigree” coach having to have previous head coach experience.

    • OneLuv

      Broke the mold is a bit of over the top; should say he is the latest example.

  • guest15
  • http://sportshaze.com/Toronto Shayan

    “The only gripe I have with a new coach being put in place is that, in
    hindsight, it should have come a year earlier when the reconstruction
    began in earnest (forget the delusions of playoff contentions in
    training camp).”

    Good point, but also in hindsight, I’m glad we did wait a year since we got Casey now.  I feel like him winning the title with Dallas will be of significant importance for his own confidence, and the confidence the league & Raptors will have in him.

    Sure, money talks, but nothing talks louder than an NBA ring. Just ask LeBron, he’s dying for one so badly that he sold his soul in Cleveland and is trying to ride D-Wade’s di*k.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      The rebuild propaganda from BC didn’t start until January 2011 when the losses started to pile up but you can’t rebuild until you blow it all up ie trade Bargnani & Jose, until then it’s just more bullchit deceiving talk.

      I’m really interested in who Casey’s assistant coaches will be & when will BC hire a new GM plus an Assistant GM to replace Masia Uriji.

      Casey mentioned development of players alot in his recent media talks- isn’t that what the D League is for- the development of players?

      How could LBJ sell his soul when he took a pay cut in order to sign with the Heat?

      The LBJ hate is mind controlling.lmfao

  • Buschfire

    All this draft talk just isn’t as exciting with the CBA meetings lurking in the background… after the last meeting it really looks like the NBA will not have a season next year…

    http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2011/06/nba-players-union-very-unhappy-with-latest-proposals-from-owners/

    crappy news I really hope the 2 sides come around….and fast.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      BC, David Stern- all they tell us are lies!!!

      The lockout is a most likely scenario come June 30th. Stern already cancelled the NBA Vegas Summer League (back in April not the recent media hyped one) hurting the newly drafted rookies and young vets.

      Greed is a sin!!!