Is Dwane Casey still the right coach for the Toronto Raptors?
Why should the Raptors relieve Casey of his duties and why they wonít.
The Toronto Raptors have taken a step back this year. They have a 3-10 record and they are down in all statistical categories compared to last year. Is Dwane Casey to blame for how the team has performed so far? What should the Raptors President and GM, Bryan Colangelo do?
The 2012-2013 NBA season started with so much promise. During the preseason the Toronto Raptors went 6-1 and expectations were high due to the signing of Lowry and Fields. Valanciounas was finally here and he had also shown promise early on. Dwane Casey had a full training camp this year with a goal to install an up-tempo offence centered on Kyle Lowry.
All the fan optimism that was there before the season started has now evaporated. The reality of what team the Raptors really are is evident in their current record. The winning percentage the Raptors have compiled the first 10-15 games of the season has hold true for the remainder of each campaign the past 4 seasons. If the current winning percentage (.231) holds for the rest of the season they will finish with 19 wins. Obviously this will be disastrous since they were hoping to make the playoffs this year. I believe that their winning percentage will improve to what it was last season (.348) which will result to 29 wins and 53 loses. That is a lot of losing basketball to watch for an entire season.
Sometimes there is reason for optimism where a team can turn their season around but this usually happens with veteran teams that have been together for at least two seasons and not with a team that has one of the youngest rosters in the NBA.
Who is to blame for the current state of the Raptors? If we look at the roster this year itís pretty much the same as last year. Lowryís experience is negated by Valanciounasí inexperience. Fields has not been effective due to injury and Bargnaniís slow start may have resulted to current record but I refuse to believe that these are the reason behind the teamís current record.
I blame the Coach for the current state of the team. Here are 5 reasons why the Raptors have performed so poorly in Caseyís second year with the team:
1. He has not established a bench rotation and stuck with it. Sure, nobody has stood out so far but the fact that the Raptors do not have set rotations has hurt the teamís chemistry.
2. He has not established an offensive identity. Even though Lowry has been hurt for most of the season Casey has Calderon who is arguably playing the best basketball of his career.
3. The defense which was Caseyís trademark last season has not been consisted this year. We can blame the rookie in the starting lineup, we can blame Bargnaniís slow start but I choose to blame Casey. He has not been able to get his team to play as hard in defense as they did last year. Is his constant shouting wearing them thin?
4. He has relied too much on a three guard rotation at the end of close games. Bargnani and Valanciounas have not been rebounding machines. This team needs size in the court and not any combination of Lowry-Calderon-Lucas.
5. And finally team growth. Team growth comes from being a better situational coach and making good decisions during games to help your team win. Casey has been out-coached on at least 7 games out of the first 13 played so far.
Should the Raptors replace him now and throw in the proverbial towel for the season? If Colangelo does this and it does not affect the teamís record in a positive way then his job will definitely be on the line at the end of the season. My suggestion to this conundrum is to fire the current coach and replace him with someone who has a proven record of improving a team. The list is short with coaches that can perform miracles and are available: Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan and Stan Van Gundy.
My personal favorite in this list is McMillan. He was able to perform well in Portland with a similar roaster and ongoing injuries.