After being swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors decided to fire Dwane Casey as head coach and replaced him with assistant Nick Nurse. The decision raised eyebrows among the Raptors’ fan base, especially those people who believe Casey shouldn’t take all the blame for their failure to dethrone the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Even the Raptors will agree that Dwane Casey should be credited for their numerous achievements in the last five years. He led the Raptors to their first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals and helped them achieve a franchise-best 59-win season. The Raptors stood firm with their decision to part ways with Casey but watching him win the 2018 NBA Coach of the Year award must be a huge slap to their face. Casey became the first head coach to win the award after being fired since his mentor, George Karl.
When giving his speech, Casey thanked the Raptors for giving him the opportunity to showcase his skills as a head coach. He also expressed his excitement to “play for an owner that trusts you,” which some people perceived as a cheap shot to the Raptors’ management.
“When you get fired, which I did recently, I don’t know if you knew that or not, after winning Coach of the Year, you always doubt yourself a little bit,” Casey said (h/t SB Nation). “You think, ‘OK. Can I do this? Do I want to do this again?’ And then I interviewed with Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons. He and I connected, and he’s giving me the opportunity that I’m very appreciative of, for someone to believe in you. And that’s all you want as a player, and also as a coach and owner who believes in you and trusts you with his franchise, and I appreciate that.”
Despite winning the 2018 NBA Coach of the Year award, Dwane Casey admitted that his recent firing greatly affected how he sees himself as a head coach. However, the award is a clear proof that Casey is not the major problem in Toronto. During the 2017-18 NBA season, Casey has earned a huge praise for the changes he made with the team’s offensive plan.
However, during their playoff run, Raptors superstars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have been very inconsistent on the offensive end of the floor, giving the Cavaliers an easy path to the Eastern Conference finals. As the new head coach of the Detroit Pistons, Casey will have the opportunity to prove himself once again. He will be coaching a squad led by the formidable frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond and a talented guard in Reggie Jackson. The Raptors’ and Pistons’ performance in the 2018-19 NBA season will determine if Toronto really made the right decision to fire Casey as head coach.