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Thread: Mission Accomoplished? DC thinks so (Stephen Brotherston, HoopsWorld.com)

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default Mission Accomoplished? DC thinks so (Stephen Brotherston, HoopsWorld.com)

    When new head coach Dwane Casey arrived in Toronto after winning the NBA championship as an assistant coach in Dallas only a few weeks earlier, he was taking over a team that had spent the previous three seasons in the lottery and had every intention of being there for the fourth season in a row. The Raptors needed both a plan to escape futility and to ditch a culture of losing. While Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo had the plan, it was going to be up to Casey to change the culture.

    Evidence of a culture change can be found in hard statistics everywhere one looks. The Raptors have languished near the bottom in defensive efficiency, points allowed and opponents’ field goal percentage seemingly forever, but that is no longer the case.

    “We are fifteenth in defensive efficiency and we were about 25 (last season) and I didn’t think we would make that big of a jump in year one,” Casey said. “All I can go back to is in Dallas where we started very low and we got to the middle of the pack in year two, so we have really exceeded expectations to get to fifteenth and be consistently in the top 10 in field goal percentage (against).

    Coach Casey came to Toronto as a defensive guru with a mandate to recreate the magic he was responsible for in Dallas, giving an offensive-minded team a defensive heart. Toronto’s trio of defensive whipping posts Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon were not being given a pass by their new head coach either.

    “Andrea bought in very quick and did a great job of becoming more defensive-minded,” Casey said. “He knew he had to do the job. I like Andrea but I would get on him just like I would Solo (Alabi). He was held accountable. Andrea is smart. He has a high basketball I.Q. so he knows the right way to play, the right way to play defensively and the right way to play offensively.

    “(Calderon) is solid within our system. The bigs support him and we have a system built to protect him. He has to be where he is supposed to be and he has done that and the system has helped him a lot. Is he a one-on-one breakdown stopper, no, but he is such a smart player that he can play within the system.

    “DeMar arguably has played at a higher level with more basketball intellect.

    Our guys have bought in and done a great job within our system.”

    Much has been made of Casey’s zone defense and his ability to get players to play defense within a system and the results have been impressive during individual games against the NBA’s best teams.

    “Even with some of our pieces out, you can see the talent that we have and the drive that we have,” Aaron Gray explained. “Like Coach Casey says, ‘this used to be a place where people would come to get their numbers and get an easy win.’ Now the teams that come in with that mindset, we take full advantage of. Beating New York here, playing San Antonio, L.A. down to the wire in games maybe we should have won, beating Boston twice here, you can see the change. I don’t think it’s as evident in the record, but if you just look at the games we have played, we have been in every game except three or four and that’s a huge compliment for the guys that we have.”

    As much as the change to a defensive-mindset, the change in culture that Casey has brought is a belief this team is better than their record and more importantly, everyone is on the same page.

    “We are helping each other a lot more and we included the zone which has been good for us throughout the season,” Amir Johnson said. “Our zone has been getting better and better every game. We are just getting stops and playing together so our defense has been tremendous. I haven’t paid attention to the stats but I see it on the court, we definitely play defense a lot better.”

    What has held Toronto back from seeing more success this season has been the time it has taken for Casey to implement his system, the impacts from the lockout and injuries. While Casey was able to push ahead defensively, the offense struggled due to all the injuries.

    “We were rolling when we had Andrea and no one was planning on losing one of our best players,” said DeRozan. “I benefited from him a lot when he was out there and when he went down, a lot of teams started focusing in on me and I had to find other ways to get myself involved in the game.”

    “(Missing Bargnani), it’s huge, it’s hard to win ball games, it’s hard to be consistent,” explained Gray. “We have changed our offense and defense so many times because of all of our injuries. Jerry Bayless, it seems he plays a month and he’s out a month and he’s one of our premier guys. Jose has had a few injuries but he has done a great job of battling through things. L.K. is one of our main energy guys and he’s been dinged up and started out the year like me sitting out. So it’s tough just being consistent. One of the reasons teams are so good is because they play together and build that chemistry, for us it seems like we’ve had a different identity offensively every night. Defensively, obviously we have to try to be consistent no matter who is on the floor.”

    “We have been playing good, but our consistency hasn’t been there,” said Johnson. “We do well against good teams but we aren’t consistent, but that will come as we stay together. We have a new coach and a new system so everything will get along and I think we will be even better next year once we have a full season.”

    The surprising end result of this lockout-shortened season isn’t Toronto’s upcoming trip to the NBA draft lottery, it is just how fast Casey has been able to change the culture and the perception of his new team.

    “The main thing I look at is our improvement defensively,” Casey said. “I am really happy that it’s further along than I thought.

    “No matter what happens from here on out, we have accomplished the goals set out this year, changing the culture, becoming defensive-minded and improving players.”

    Mission accomplished? Casey has accomplished his side of the bargain with Colangelo in year one. It’s hard to not give Casey credit due for changing the culture in Toronto.

    We have accomplished that, no matter what happens, but next year is a different story getting re-loaded, re-vamped and everything else is going to (create) a different goal.”

    The next steps belong to Colangelo after the season ends so Casey has a tougher and potentially more rewarding mission to accomplish.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/toronto-ra...n-accomplished

    You know who else has improved this year? Stephen Brotherston. His articles at HoopsWorld.com are some of the best on the site.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Brotherston used to be on Bleacher Report, and his early Hoopsworld pieces showed it. But I agree now....he has improved exponentially over the years.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    As much as the change to a defensive-mindset, the change in culture that Casey has brought is a belief this team is better than their record and more importantly, everyone is on the same page.
    Maintaining confidence, despite all the losing, is a very impressive feat. Very encouraging for next year.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Administrator Dr. James Naismith's Avatar
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    He also used to be an active member here before he hit the "bigtime".

    http://raptorsrepublic.com/forums/me...6-brothersteve

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    article warmed the cockles of my heart.

    agree that his writing has gotten better by leaps and bounds.
    @jerboat

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    Administrator Apollo's Avatar
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    Casey has done a very good job in season one. He's made the most of what he was given. You can't expect anything more than that.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Bendit's Avatar
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    Even though SB is a local, when was the last time we saw a team-evaluation as positive.

    I have often wondered that Casey must be really a creative coach since he took over the defensive coaching responsibilities in Dallas from the head coach Carlisle who was noted to be a defensive minded coach as well. DC has also instituted a system here without that mobile shot blocking defensive big man (like Chandler). As all I am looking forward to seeing how he employs JV next year.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    I wonder how Triano feels whenever he hears of any such Casey-praise. It's either a single tear rolling down his cheek, or more smashing of clipboards.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Even though SB is a local, when was the last time we saw a team-evaluation as positive.

    I have often wondered that Casey must be really a creative coach since he took over the defensive coaching responsibilities in Dallas from the head coach Carlisle who was noted to be a defensive minded coach as well. DC has also instituted a system here without that mobile shot blocking defensive big man (like Chandler). As all I am looking forward to seeing how he employs JV next year.
    The fact that DC has accomplished this without having a training camp and with a roster that was full of poor defenders, makes it even more impressive. A significant influx of talent, individual player improvements, building team chemistry and much better on-court communication, enhanced with the help of a real training camp, should point to a much improved Raptors team next season.

    There is definitely an underlying excitement in this team, that is real and legitimately warranted, for the first time in a long time! I think DC has a lot to do with that. Now it is up to BC to prove this offseason that our faith and hopefullness for the future is justified. If the draft lottery doesn't bounce our way, the draft pick is less than stellar and the offseason recruiting/trading winds up being an epic fail, I would not want to be in BC's shoes!

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    Raptors Republic Starter Katman's Avatar
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    Well pitchforks and torches were on sale this week, so I'm set for the draft and free agency.

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    this is a feel good story and all, but may I just point out that this is a league where teams with the most talent usually win, no amount of coaching is going to do us any good if some of the turds, and flawed players are still on our team next year, we fans deserve better.

    It's all on BC, he better make the gambles we know he can make and try something risky or I am done watching.

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    Raptors Republic Starter Katman's Avatar
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    Another positive comment, this from David Thorpe ESPN Insider

    The Toronto Raptors, believe it or not, had about as perfect a season as they could have hoped for, outside of becoming a serious contender, that is.

    First and foremost, first-year coach Dwayne Casey proved to be a keeper, convincing his players to defend with better purpose and passion. Perhaps only the New York Knicks improved as much on defense from last season, and this improvement in Toronto will be a strong foundation moving forward.

    Then they watched as their top pick from last June's draft, Jonas Valanciunas, proved to be the exciting prospect they had hoped for, as he played well last summer and through his current season in Europe. And all this happened while the Raptors kept losing games, assuring them of a very high draft pick in the 2012 draft. Indeed, this team obviously still has a lot of needs. But it looks like the Raptors should be able to fill an important spot no matter where they pick in the lottery come May 30. This is a team that is rapidly acquiring and developing talent.
    Last edited by Katman; Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:48 PM.

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    Quote Katman wrote: View Post
    Another positive comment, this from David Thorpe ESPN Insider
    d'antoni and triano, not looking good for those two...........

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    It would have been very easy for Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey embrace his softer side as this season wraps up.

    The Raptors have three days off in between Wednesday’s loss in Miami and Sunday’s game in Detroit. Casey could have either, a) taken one of the days off completely; or b) allowed his team to lounge in the heat of South Beach for a few days.

    He did neither. The team went through a practice at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Thursday, and will practise again in Detroit on Friday and Saturday.


    As for not staying within spitting distance from South Beach: “It’s my philosophy you play a team and then you get the heck out of dodge,” Casey said. “Done with them, now let’s get out. A lot of the problems in the NBA start when you stay in a situation like this.”

    On not taking a true day off, despite the lack of meaning in the season’s final few games: “We have three more games to go and we don’t want to lose or see go away what we worked hard for in the past 63 games,” Casey said. “We can’t throw that away just because we’re in Miami with all that sunshine. There’s no question that has happened in the past, but we have to maintain our semblance of focus, our semblance of defensive awareness, the very things that we didn’t do [Wednesday]. [The Heat] hit us with a sledgehammer and knocked us backwards.”


    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/...tices-detroit/
    Culture change anyone?

    Mitchell would have been on the links for days...... even if it was a playoff series on the line - yeah, I went there.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Hotshot's Avatar
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    So if mission is accomplished, there is nothing else left to accomplish other then tank this remaining games in order to get a better chance at a good pick.

    Casey you better not win anymore games.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    Culture change anyone?

    Mitchell would have been on the links for days...... even if it was a playoff series on the line - yeah, I went there.
    Doug Smith's comments on the subject:

    Raptors?

    Well, they’re on a rather extended road trip, talked briefly via text with some folks yesterday and nothing of significance went on.

    Except maybe some grumbling.

    You see, with the game in Miami on Wednesday and one in Detroit on Sunday, you can be sure more than a few of them had hoped for an extended stay in South Florida once they changed the original plan of coming home and working here in between.

    Wrong, Camel-breath.

    Sure, they stayed in Florida after the game on Wednesday, practiced there yesterday and stayed last night.

    But Friday and Saturday?

    They’re off to lovely Auburn Hills for a couple of days of work; instead of practicing in Florida today and tomorrow and then flying.

    Guess it had as much to do with not wanting to “reward” them or something like that.

    Yes, I am sure some of them were not impressed.

    http://thestar.blogs.com/raptors/201...-the-game.html
    I hope the ones who are grumbling are sent packing this summer. It might be drastic on my part but you're working (even though your work is playing a game). They have 6 days until they are on vacation. Let them party in South Beach on their own dime at that time.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Bendit's Avatar
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    Wow...there seems to be no letup by DC. He is certainly not deviating from the plan.

    But....the effect might be that the players are so pissed that they may lose the games to spite

    Tank nation hopes!

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Is there going to be an end of season presscon like what they did last year??

    Im interested to hear what BC and DC are going to say....

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    Raptors Republic Starter AJ360's Avatar
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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    Is there going to be an end of season presscon like what they did last year??

    Im interested to hear what BC and DC are going to say....
    Yeah they do them every year... Usually a couple days after the last game.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    Is there going to be an end of season presscon like what they did last year??

    Im interested to hear what BC and DC are going to say....
    "BC: Thank you everyone for coming out today. Without a doubt this has been the most rewarding season for me in my time in Toronto and I think it has been one of the most successful season we have seen in Toronto ever. Everything we did went according to plan. We set out to get the 9th pick and we did. We set out to finish the year with 2 D-League players starting and we did. We set out to change the culture of the franchise and we did. Clearly the fans agree as our season ticket sales are meeting and exceeding our expectations. Our first round draft pick from last year, Jonas Valanciunas, had a great year in Lithuania and made me look like a genius and the phone calls continue from other GM's telling me what a great pick he was. This season has gone exactly according to plan.

    We have tremendous flexibility for this off season and I intend to take full advantage. On draft night, I plan on fleecing another team with a major deal and making the best selection of the draft at 9. I am the sh!t and it is time to recognize.

    At this time I hand it over to Dwane so he can elaborate on how f*cking great everything is in Toronto. Dwane....

    DC: Exactly what Bryan said. Regarding the current roster, the players will bust their ass this summer. I will be driving a Winnebago that can drive on water. I'll be busting current Raptor players asses all over the USA and in to Europe. I don't give a shit who you are. When my Winnebago pulls up in to your driveway or in to your harbour, you better be shit baked because you are going to work and bleed. If players don't agree with how I do things, I'll give them JJ's digits and he can fill them in on how that works. Next year we are going to hold teams under 60 points per game.... book it."


    I anticipate it going something like that.

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