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.