6/20/11

Casey Watch On High Alert

The NBA Draft is this Thursday and things are heating up on the Raptors vacant coaching position. Many are saying it is just a matter of time before Dwane Casey is named the next head coach of the Toronto Raptors. It is said the finalists for the Raptors job are him and Lawrence Frank. The same two names apparently are at the top of the Pistons wish list. Casey is the hot name this year after he was the assistant coach running the defence for the championship winning Mavericks.

When you look closer at it Casey does make a lot of sense. Dirk while he is lights out on offence, he still leaves a lot to be desired on defence. Andrea Bargnani has always been compared to Dirk and we all know about his defence or lack of it. Casey uses a variety of zones more than perhaps any other team in the NBA. It also helped hide an aging Jason Kidd. The lack of speed Kidd has can be compared to the lack of speed that Jose Calderon has compared to his point guard counterparts in this league.

If Casey can make his zones work with Bargnani and Calderon on the floor he will be considered a miracle worker. Kidd and Nowitzki are far better overall to me than Calderon and Bargnani. Still both players(Bargnani and Calderon) coming from Europe and growing up in that system they are more comfortable in zone defences. So you can see at least on paper why Casey might be attractive to the Raptors. But the Mavericks have more talent overall so you have to wonder if his schemes work with a less talented group of Raptors. That being said it is a big step up on the defensive end from Jay Triano. If the Raptors don't buy into his system he can just flash his championship ring assuming Mark Cuban caves and gets them.

The hiring of Casey might suggest you don't see Calderon or Bargnani get moved in the off-season. It might also suggest the Raptors would be more inclined to draft another Euro in the upcoming draft. Just as I was saying about Calderon and Bargnani growing up in a system that is much more zone oriented that would apply for any other euro player the Raptors might want. But let's hope this is wrong. The Raptors success rate in drafting and bringing in players from Europe is not exactly the greatest.

The Raptors are not exactly a rebounding machine and zones will not help that much. Also the Mavs were a great three point shooting team and that puts pressure on teams to try and match them from distance. The Raptors do not have the three point shooting they once had. But still you have to figure the Raptors would finally improve in defending the three point line. Something that was sorely lacking in the Triano era.

Still no announcement though and you wonder if the Pistons are making a push to land Casey. If he ends up here and not there you can say that Pistons have officially fallen off the map. There was a time not that long ago where the Pistons job would have been far more attractive. But Joe Dumars is not the super genius he once was. Detroit is not the same franchise on or off the floor anymore. The sellout streak is long gone with the city being hard hit by the economy. While the Pistons have made a number of questionable choices in free agency and the draft. Add in the fact Casey has been a candidate with the Raptors before and just never made it to the finish line. So will see which comes first the Raptors new coach or the Raptors latest draft pick or picks.

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