Dwane Casey’s given a pretty candid interview to Sporting News.

I will now paste quotes from the article and then provide a comment.

Casey on his one-year deal


“Everyone’s on a year-to-year contract,” Casey told Sporting News from his home in Seattle. “I don’t care who you are, we all are. I am going to coach the same as if I had a 10-year contract or a one-year contract. I can’t get caught up in that. … The good thing about it is, I have a good relationship with Masai. He is originally from Seattle, he went to high school there. So I have known him for a long time. In the end, I am going to be judged by how we improve. I am not going to spend a waking moment worrying about my contract.”

I like the “everyone’s on a year-to-year contract” line but that doesn’t do enough to hide Ujiri being on the fence with Casey as a coach. To be fair, Casey has a lot to prove in terms of whether he can lead a team that’s striving to contend. At the very least he’s got reduce the coaching gaffes down to a bare minimum, play the obvious sub-patterns, and not throw out lineups that aren’t tested in practice. The win total target next year will be modest so that part shouldn’t be a problem, it’s only whether his in-game management will be better or not. You can make a case that he still hasn’t transitioned over from being an assistant, which is where you chime in rather than make strategic decisions that you’re held accountable for.

On no longer playing up-tempo


“We can’t run on makes and misses, that is not us,” Casey said. “That’s what we tried to do early in the year and we went 4-19. I said, ‘Look, we have got to find the right pace.’ We can run on turnovers, we can run on steals, but after that, let’s get the ball to our scorers. It was more of a controlled game. And we were .500. I am not too good at math but I do know that 4-19 vs. .500, something was going better.”

Every new coach wants to play up-tempo for some reason when only a handful of teams in the league can pull it off. I’m not sure what the infatuation with playing the old Phoenix Suns style of basketball is, unless that’s not what they mean when they say up-tempo. Maybe up-tempo means looking for opportunities in transition by pushing the ball, but in that case shouldn’t EVERY SINGLE TEAM be doing that? I say up-tempo is the equivalent of when baseball managers say they’ll do the little things right, like bunt, steal a base, etc. Basically, stuff you should be doing anyway. I’m not sure why Casey was even trying to increase the pace of the game when decreasing the pace down to a crawl was exactly what worked for him the year before.

On Rudy Gay and his struggles


“If you look at his career, it has steadily gone down,” Casey said. “He has complained about his eyes, he tried to wear goggles, and that didn’t work. He is supposed to be wearing contacts, and he didn’t like the contacts, he didn’t like having anything on his eyes. So they elected to do the surgery. I am keeping my fingers crossed. For some players, they get that done and it is like seeing a new rim. Hopefully, the same thing happens with him.”

He doesn’t like wearing contacts? Why? Do they itch? Do his eyes become read? Does he soak them in boiling acid? Whatever the case, I’m not buying that his jump-shooting percentage is a product of his sight. And if he does have intermittent eye problems then he shouldn’t be playing in games where his eyes are hurting. I imagine conversations like these being common last year:

Casey: “Hey Rudy – can you see the rim?”

Rudy: “Umm..not really”

Casey: Cool – you got the green light tonight.

Rudy: “But my eyes, they’re bleedi…”

Casey: Green light!

On DeRozan’s shooting


“He worked on it, we worked on it with him all summer,” Casey said. “Getting the right lift into his shot, being consistent with it, we worked on that. That’s been the big next step for him, bringing his game past the 3-point line. That alone will do a lot for him. I thought he got better at making decisions out of the post, making plays out of the post if they double-team, he did a good job reading those situations.”

Yeah…I’m going to go ahead and wait to see this jumper of his myself before getting my hopes up. Call me sceptical, but I’ve heard this story before.

On Terrence Ross in general


“The talent is there,” Casey said. “There is not a better athlete in the NBA than Terrence Ross. But just, bringing it on a consistent basis is his own personal challenge. We pushed him as a coaching staff and work with him till the cows come home, but until he makes up his mind mentally that he is going to exert that same athleticism and effort on both ends of the floor, that’s when he will make the next step. … He has been working with a shooting coach this summer, trying to get that consistent, working on his shot. His ballhandling, his defense in pick-and-roll situations, he has been working on that all summer.”

A shooting coach for Terrence Ross? I thought shooting the ball was the one thing he could do coming out of college? The line about him being the best athlete in the league is – how shall I put this – highly debatable? Kudos on the “cows come home” reference, I thought I was the only one who used that. Back to Ross, let’s just say he’s working on every aspect of his game this summer because every aspect needs working. He’s got a big year ahead and he’s thiiiis close to being like this guy.

I’m compiling the submissions for the re-brand contest. Will have them up shortly.

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  • Nilanka15

    Haha, I knew that was a Chris Jefferies reference even before clicking on the link 😉

    Maybe I’m suffering from blink optimism, or I simply know how much of a difference corrective eye-sight can make, but if the Gay eye issues are true, then I actually do expect to see some better shooting percentages from him.

    But the other half of the equation is shot selection. If you take bad shots, it doesn’t matter how good your eyes are, you’re still going to produce crummy percentages.

    Hopefully Gay can improve his craft with his eyes, and his brain.

    • Big D

      Would it help his accuracy? Sure. Will it help his shot selection? I doubt it. Gay hasn’t been an efficient player base on his terrible shot selection and his reluctant at getting to the free throw line more then 3 a game. For a wing who’s as athletic and with his ball handling should be getting to the line at a much higher rate then he current does.

      • Ian Reynolds

        Exactly. Rudy had a terrible time saying no to bad shots when he wasn’t even sure where the rim was, how many terrible awful shots from 21 feet out is he going to take now that he CAN see it?

  • pbjake

    You know sometimes you could end up shooting worse FG% because you see the rim better, I hope that’s not the case for him.

  • Wiley

    Sorry man but the comments suck.
    I would have much rather read the interview without those stupid comments.
    It’s kinda like watching a movie and one guy is trying to make lame ass jokes after every scene the entire film.

    • SR

      Was that a MST3K reference?

    • Well, that’s when you click on the link to read the actual interview.

  • SR

    Call me a pessimist, but I will be even more pissed if Rudy’s shooting does improve. He’s a professional athlete paid many, many millions of dollars to put the ball in the hole, and if his game suffered measurably because contact lenses felt icky? Are you serious? Is that the level of mental toughness you want from your highest paid player? Goggles were uncomfortable and he couldn’t bring himself to touch his eyeballs. Did I mention he’s paid nearly $20 million dollars to put a ball in a hole? There are no words.

    • Andrey

      Can you imagine how Grizzlies fan would feel?

  • guest

    This question just popped into my head and I had nowhere to ask it. Do players get tested in the pre-season on their playbook as in a written test.

  • elkabong

    i thunked Casey’s in game management sucked large most nights.i found the lack of using timeouts and his lack of ingame adjustments to be hairpulling material most games.for instance game 2 of the season we smack the Nets 35-27 in the 1st quarter and things are looking good.2nd quarter we get slaughtered 33-17 and he finally uses is a full time out with 2:32 to go and then a 20 second one with 39 seconds to go. they make their in game adjustments and he’s lost at sea and an 8 point lead becomes an 8 point deficit! it sure seemed to me we’d play well in a lot of stretches and very competitive 1st quarters for the most part and then at some point the wheels would fall off and he had no clue how to set things right. things after the 1/2 time break were just as painful a good portion of the time and we threw away way more leads than we should have.he probably didn’t want to use the timeouts cuz his plays after one were
    of high school caliber most of the time. how many clean looks and quick
    baskets do you recall? they sure seemed few and far between to me. cripes it seemed like half the time we couln’t even get the ball back in play! i also really love the 5 man unit numbers i’ve pointed to before so we can let that speak for itself

    so he’s gonna blame the 4-19 start on trying to play too fast is he? what a crock of BS that is. he was flat out outcoached on most nights at least from my perspective

    i hear people ask why the big difference between year one and two of Casey’s tenure? to me it’s quite simple. year one was a lockout shortened 66 games from Dec 26 to April 26 and teams had no time to prepare complex schemes and there was no practice time to implement them anyways. this meant he faced no where near the normal adjustments he needed to match in year two and the i thought the results were pretty putrid under a normal 82 game schedule

  • robert_

    In case you missed the story about Rudy Gay’s eyes. Obviously believe whatever you want to drive your point but at least try do some research instead of making some random comments.


  • Bendit

    This team seems to have a few players with a lot of phobias (Gay calls his stigmas!). Casey mouths off quite a bit on what all the boys are working at….how about a bit of a report card on whether the work/private coaching is working.

  • golden

    Casey has to take a lot of the heat for the Ross pick. Firstly, BC let it be known that it was Casey’s fault that the Raps didn’t tank hard enough to get Barnes. Secondly, Casey himself came out as the biggest supporter for picking Ross – a surprise pick that Casey implied was an NBA-ready shooter that ‘we need’. A perennial lottery team should never be drafting for ‘need’.

  • HogyG

    I wear glasses and have since I was a child. While I was playing for school teams throughout my life, I went through trying to play with goggles as well as contacts and always reverted back to playing without anything but what God gave me. I imagine some of the smart ass comments so far are from folks who do not wear prescription eye wear, so allow me to enlighten you a little.

    First off, with goggles there are various issues. The frames of many of them are thick to be made durable and thus create blind spots. Even the eye-ware that are clear plastic create blind/warped spots as well as light flares reflecting from sources found around the court. On top of that, no matter how much I realized they are safety/sports goggles, they felt too close to regular glasses and made it a mental hurdle when going into the paint, that they might get knocked off or be broken against my face with an erratic elbow or hand. Keep in mind all the elastic bands or straps that come along with this type of hardware as well. These are all types of distractions that no professional athlete would want to have to focus through if given an option. Some have obviously found success wearing them, but it clearly isn’t for everyone and speaking from experience it wasn’t for me.

    Secondly, with the option of contact lenses, it (as some have mentioned) can be a factor to have to poke at your eyes to put them in. If you aren’t a regular wearer of them then application can be an ordeal, and it can even frustrate the most avid wearer from time to time. If he is comfortable wearing glasses in his day-to-day life, then he may be trying to put them in just before a game and finds it throws off his focus, when he should be mentally preparing for the match up. Also, if he has an astigmatism then he may require weighted contact lenses that adjust themselves on your eye to stay orientated in a particular way. They work by having the “bottom” portion of the lens be heavier than the top. These lenses shift on the eyeball at random moments and when that happens it can feel like being transported back into the 60’s to a grateful dead concert sitting next to Bill Walton. This may be a great way to spend time relaxing, but not in a full tilt boogie going to the basket. Don’t forget that those things fall out of players eyes, we’ve all seen it happen. Perhaps this has happened to him and was then forced to remove the other to continue. If your eyes are bad, as he claims them to be, this quick transition is difficult to adjust to. People who play “blind” like Rudy (or myself) need time for our eyes to adjust to our natural state. So again, he may not want to take that chance and feels more comfortable dealing with his natural sight issues from the start or the game. Any of these factors could be enough to not want to wear them.

    For those who jest that it may improve his shooting % but can never help his shot selection, I would like you to consider this; If Rudy has been playing “blind”, it could be difficult for him to read the defence properly and he may then decide it is best to shoot and take the chance at missing and still get an opportunity for an offensive rebound, rather than make an ill-advised pass (due to not being able to see the eyes of his players/defenders) resulting in a turnover. With this in mind, I argue that his future ability to be able to properly see while playing should not only improve his shot (by being able to see the rim) but also aid in his ability to make the right decision with the ball (by being able to see the floor). Let’s wait to see the difference the surgery makes, and hope it’s a positive one.

    Let’s Go Raptors… and Rudy’s Eyes!

    • SR

      Thanks for the lecture. You and I, however, are not paid many millions of dollars to play ball at the highest possible level. Rudy’s excuses are lame considering context and the apparent severity he allowed things to come to before getting surgery.

      PS I played two sports right through college wearing contacts. Also, Kareem didn’t seem to mind the goggles. Some great, great basketball players have worn goggles. Nobody does anymore, and I’m suspicious it’s got more to do with “being cool” than putting your performance ahead of all else.

      • SR
      • HogyG

        I gotta say, I disagree with the lack of “being cool” for not seeing goggles being worn. Many NBA athletes wear horn-rimmed glasses without lenses after the game just to BE cool. In fact, James Johnson wore a pair of goggles that looked just like that this past season, and I’m sure it was solely for style purposes. See take a look – http://media.lockerdome.com/uploads/8631ab2f02a3a725687a5e5654bf5825_large

        I believe that in order to get effective corrective Lasik surgery, your eyes need to stabilize (have your vision not get any worse) for a reasonable amount of time before going through the procedure. I realize that he didn’t have Lasik, but perhaps the time taken was waiting for his eyes to see the best results from whatever surgery he did have. That said, I’m no doctor, nor do I play one on TV.

        I hear where you’re coming from that millions of dollars should absolutely help to get someone over any insecurities they have stepping on the court, but as you know that isn’t always the case (look no further than the unfortunate and extreme case of Royce White). Personally, I want an athlete to compete feeling comfortable in their skin and on the court. I agree with you that lots of top notch athletes (including yourself) are comfortable using various forms of corrective lenses. I wasn’t when I played, which only proves the point that all players are not created equal, but yet still come to compete the way they feel most effective.

        I’m just saying that some get rid of their hardware, like Turkoglu or Kobe with their respective face masks when they found it a hindrance to their game. Then of course, we have someone like Rip Hamilton who doesn’t feel comfortable stepping on the court without it. In the end, its a matter of feeling comfortable while competing and Rudy has found his way to do that. He’s also used a portion of those millions you mention to correct his vision in the hopes to improve his performance while maintaining his comfort level on the court.

        Why would you be down on that? Instead, you should be down with that.

        To conclude, many people have phobias. I guess you can take the stand that everyone who is afraid of spiders is lame (and maybe they are, haha. Just kidding, those things are scary!), but it doesn’t make their phobia any less real to them and have it effect them in a negative way, regardless of how many millions of dollars you may pay them.

        Perhaps Rudy should have looked up what a fear of touching your eyes is (Ommetaphobia) to make it sound more official and keep his feelings as to what may have caused it to himself, but he didn’t. Instead, he opened up just a little bit and shared something personal in his life with his new fan base… Why, just so you could call him lame for it.

        Come on, that’s just unnecessary. Instead, why not hope all his hard work pays off and it gets credited to the corrective surgery just like he fears, then maybe it can cause a new stigma to get over his old ones.

        (Stigma – a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease. Not what I’d call it, but hey, to each their own Jack.)

        Rudy for MVP…or DeMar…or Jonas…or Amir…or, you know. Whatever works is fine. Go Raptors!

      • Nilanka15

        “Being cool”? C’mon….100% speculation.

        I suppose the concept of informed opinions is not your cup of tea.

        • SR

          “I’m suspicious” phrases the comment appropriately, don’t you think?

  • Van Grungy

    Rudy Gay JUST had the Lasik done!?!?
    I think Rudy Gay is going to have a joyous season.

  • leftovercrack

    You read Casey’s comments and he almost sucks you back in, drinking the Koolaid. Gay seeing the basket better, Ross the best athlete in the NBA with more upside than JV, Demar working hard on his 3-point shot. Then the season comes and you kick yourself for having believed. Maybe this season will be different….

    • james

      Drink it up Raptors’ fans, after all it’s the exact same recipe we enjoyed last off-season (albeit, with slightly more sugar). Ross is just as athletic as he was last season, Demar has been doing nothing but working on his 3-point shot for the last 2 seasons (only to see a ~2% increase), and the only thing we know about Gay is that he has digressed every season since receiving that big payday.
      Buy hey, I guess there is nothing wrong with a little BLIND optimism?

  • Chuck Johnson

    “And if he does have intermittent eye problems then he shouldn’t be playing in games where his eyes are hurting”

    What? That’s pretty dumb statement. Says who? Does that just apply to eyes or does it apply other body parts too. If you’re having ankle (or foot, or elbow, or knee) problems should you not play in those games either?

    If you’re having physical discomfort or problems you talk to the medical staff, if they don’t feel you’re risking anything serious by playing, you let the coach know you’re not 100% and you go and play and leave it up to him to decide if the team would be better off with you on the bench.

  • Jonathan

    Wow, people are really misinterpreting Casey’s comments about Ross. He didn’t come out say “he is the best athlete in the NBA” like everybody keeps saying he did, he just said that “there is no better athlete in the NBA” which, while a similar looking sentence, is vastly different, because all it says is that Ross’s athletic attributes are on par with the best, and considering he won the dunk competition last year, is such a comment really that far off? It’s getting so annoying how much people don’t pay attention in favour of blowing things out of proportion.

    • james

      Couldn’t agree more. Ross won the dunk competition not because he is the best dunker, it is because he is in the upper echelons of athletic talent. Saying there is no better athlete in the NBA says absolutely nothing about his ability to play basketball; it is just comparing him to the Gerald Greens of the NBA. What Casey is trying to show is that Ross has the physical ability to stay with anyone in this league, if he wants to. When you watch film of Kobe (new or old) you see the intensity, drive, and commitment. If Ross had that same drive, he already has the natural physical ability, so he would be competing with the best in the league.