Rumours and speculation became reality today as the Toronto Raptors announced Dwane Casey as the 8th head coach in the franchises 16 years in the NBA. Not exactly job security averaging just over two years a coach. But Casey was the hot name in assistants this year and winning a title with the Mavericks did not hurt that. The Raptors will hope Casey is their Thibodeau who left the Celtics as an assistant and won coach of the year with Chicago. Will see if he can be as successful. The Raptors are no where close to where the Bulls were. So it would be a lot tougher job for him to be successful. He is here to clean up the Raptors awful defence that was the worst in the league under Jay Trinao for the last two seasons.
Casey said that Colangelo and the Raptors young core were the attractions that brought him here. He said his goal is to establish a NBA defensive identity and a free flowing offence. He mentioned he already had talked with Demar DeRozan and see his as a rising star in the league. He talked about playing a playoff style of basketball. Getting the Raptors to the playoffs will be no easy task though. But Casey promised to be a hands on control freak in terms of defence. These words will be welcome news to fans who have watched the Raptors get torched for the past several seasons.
Another word that was used was accountability which is something that was clearly lacking under Triano. It seems the Raptors are in for a good dose of tough love under Casey. He did stress several times how young this team was. But Casey felt that this was a good fit for him in Toronto. Casey has 16 years of NBA Experience in total including being the head coach in Minnesota. He also was an assistant and Kentucky and coached in Japan for 5 years. Dwane said he would pick Jay Triano's brain but did not seem like Triano would be a part of the coaching staff. That staff will be formed now and Colangelo made it clear that Casey would ultimately decide on who that staff will be.
Casey described himself as a passionate man that wears his feelings on his sleeve on the court. He said he will not be outworked by anyone in this league in terms of his workload or his staffs. He says he will not embarrass players but he will be demanding clearly. He feels that the Raptors can improve their defence and it will be the challenge from day one to improve this defence and change the culture. This team will have to work hard from 1-15. Casey had a lot of good things to say about DeRozan and his work ethic and has a past working with him. He mentioned several times about getting this team to be excited about playing defence and he doesn't want it to feel like a job.
Colangelo said that Rick Carlisle called him right after winning the NBA Championship and basically said what is it going to take to convince you to take Dwane Casey to get the job in Toronto. Bryan said that was the first of many endorsements he would here on his behalf. It all sounds great in a press conference. Casey said a lot of the things Raptor fans wanted to hear. The trick now will be taking those words and turning them into action. He seems to have DeRozan on board who was at the press conference and seemed excited about the change and the future. It seems clear that DeRozan is taking the steps to be the franchise player under Casey. DeRozan has a new hairstyle and a new coach that he has worked with in the past. While many have questioned DeRozan on the defensive end he seems to have a coach that will not only help him improve but the team around him as well.
The two best words out of this news conference were defence and accountability. Both things that have been lacking in Toronto for a long time. If Casey can turn those words into action he may just have a successful run as head coach in Toronto. But that will be no easy task. We all wish him luck in that task.