Home > Toronto Raptors > The Next Head Coach of the Raptors…Part II

The Next Head Coach of the Raptors…Part II

Casey posted a 53-69 record in Minnesota.

Yesterday we took a look at the career of Lawrence Frank and assessed his fit as the next head coach of the Raptors. Today, we’ll look at the other frontrunner for the position: Dwane Casey.

You would have to be a hardcore basketball fan to recognize the name Dwane Casey. It’s certainly not a household name, but that doesn’t automatically disqualify it from this race. Dwane Casey has more experience as a coach than Lawrence Frank – just not as a head coach.

Casey’s only stint as an NBA coach lasted less than two full seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Casey was hired ahead of the 2005-2006 season to try to revive a Timberwolves team that only two seasons before had reached the Western Conference Finals. Instead, the team stumbled to a 33-49 record and midway through his second season (with the Wolves battling for a playoff spot at 20-20) was relieved of his duties.

Casey’s time with Minnesota was unsuccessful, but his coaching resume is long and versatile. He began his career as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky University before moving on to be an assistant at his alma mater Kentucky where he won the 1978 NCAA championship as a player. After 5 seasons at Kentucky, Casey was embroiled in a scandal involving alleged player payments to recruit Chris Mills. Although Casey denied the allegations he was placed on probation for 5 years by the NCAA and was forced out of Kentucky. With his career in tatters, Casey looked overseas for his next opportunity.

That opportunity arose in Japan where he would spend 5 more seasons as the men’s and women’s national program’s head coach. His time in Japan rejuvenated his career and in the 1994-95 season he found his first gig at the NBA level. He would spend 11 seasons as a Supersonics assistant before landing the head coaching job at Minnesota.

Since his firing, Casey has rebounded again and is in the spotlight because of his work with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks, gifted offensively but whose failings could be attributed to a porous defense, have carried a new defensive focus to the brink of an NBA championship. And the man credited with the transformation is Dwane Casey.

Casey has spent nearly 30 years as a coach, but only 6.5 years in charge, and 1.5 at the NBA level. He’s known for instilling tough, efficient defenses and is praised for his preparation and player development. However, he has been questioned for his rotations, offensive creativity and laid-back attitude.

To be fair, that Minnesota team was flawed and Casey had a lottery bound team in a playoff race before his firing. To evaluate him based on his time in Minnesota alone would be cruel. However, if this team is looking for a veteran “head coach”, Casey isn’t the man. This team has experimented with lifelong assistant coaches before and it hasn’t worked out. If Colagelo’s M.O. is to bring in someone with immediate credibility then Casey might not be the best candidate. However, if Colangelo can look past his head coaching resume and see a man that instills a solid defensive philosophy along with his ability to work with a flawed roster (which the Raptors certainly have) then perhaps he is the better choice.

It seems the race has come down to two men: Casey or Frank. However, both of them could be out the door if this team doesn’t show enough signs of success in the next two seasons. Their jobs will be in the hands of Colangelo who is feeling the pressure to assemble a roster that can win sooner rather than later.

So, who do you think would be the best fit for the current Raptors team?

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