Dwane Casey Rumors
The Raptors won their first five games, but they’ve split their last four. That includes Sunday night’s loss in Sacramento, when Toronto blew an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead. Carroll missed three games last week with plantar fasciitis, and Terrence Ross, whom Toronto gave a three-year extension a couple of weeks ago, will miss at lest another week after injuring ligaments in his left thumb. “We have been playing decent defense,” Casey said. “We’ve got to get a balance. It’s early. Once we get healthy again, get our mojo back again, I like where our defense is right now. I’ve always said we’ll find our offense. We’ve got too many good offensive players.”
The Dirk Nowtizki comparison has floated around Porzingis since the draft run-up, but Casey would know best. He was a Mavericks assistant from 2008-11 working with the 7-foot German legend. “That kid is going to be a heckuva player. Nowhere near Dirk yet, but he’s Dirk-like from his length, his range with his 3-point shot. He’s fearless and he’s long and a rebounder. He rebounds with his length. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in this league for a long time,” Casey said Tuesday at the morning shootaround before the Knicks meet the Raptors at AirCanada Centre.
Casey has been forced, or at least strongly encouraged, to alter his coaching staff twice in the last three years. Aside from Eric Hughes, who left the Raptors to join his friend Jason Kidd first in Brooklyn and then in Milwaukee, none of those coaches had been poached by other teams. Usually, a coach can only survive one such shakeup. Here Casey remains.
“It’s definitely great. I’m happy for him,” said DeMar DeRozan, the only player who has been on the Raptors’ roster for all five of Casey’s seasons. “He’s a players’ coach. He’s one of them guys that always keeps you in a positive mindset. You go out there and play for him, you can’t do nothing but play hard for him because you understand that he’s going to have your back through the good and the bad.
The Mavericks’ 103-93 win over the Lakers and the Raptors’ 106-87 win over the Bucks last night gave a couple coaches franchise milestones. Rick Carlisle passed Don Nelson for most coaching wins in Dallas history, 340. Dwane Casey took the Toronto record from Sam Mitchell with his 157th win.
While Raptors president Masai Ujiri extended Casey’s contract, he didn’t hire him in the first place – though their relationship and communication are both said to be solid. Casey has instilled a winning environment and defensive backbone in Toronto, but when will a first-round exit no longer be good enough?