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Raptors Like Casey for Head Coach

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As draft day looms, the Toronto Raptors are also closing in on their next head coach. Raptors general manager, Bryan Colangelo, stated previously that the position previously held by Canadian Jay Triano, needs to be filled with a defensive oriented mentality, and clear experience.

“Most of the targets that I will focus on or follow up on will be candidates that will have a great deal of experience. I think that is something important in this regard” Said Colangelo.

Among the many potential candidates, rumor has it that the Raptors favored Lawrence Frank, and Dwayne Casey. Both coaches have had experience being a head coach, although neither coaches have winning records as head coaches. Of the two, Frank has been coaching longer, so he fills that need of the Raptors, but what about defense?

Currently of the two coaches being considered, it seems like Casy is the one Raptors management likes. His defensive strategies are being cited as one of the main reason that the Mavericks have done so well this year. While Frank’s experience as a defensive oriented head coach for the Celtics, has yet to prove itself.
Casey last held a head coaching job in Minnesota, when the Timberwolves fired Kevin McHale during the 2005-06 season. He lasted only a season and a half there, winning only 43% of the games he coached.

While the record didn’t say much, some stats do. When Casey coached the T-Wolves for a full season, the team was in the top third of the league in many key defensive stats.Opponent points per game for example, was the 8th lowest in the league. However, the team wasn’t capitalizing on the offensive end. Additionally, the T-Wolves had some key defensive pieces, including future defensive player of the year Kevin Garnett.

Still, even after his time in Minnesota, many other coaches and players hold him as a very knowledgeable coach. Portland Trailblazers coach Nate McMillan, who worked with Casey before said “I think that he is a guy that is prepared. He's ready for the opportunity”

The Raptors don’t have any players that have etched themselves out as defensive powerhouses. Last season, the team ranked near the bottom in almost all defensive ratings. The team does have a few young and developing prospects, and an offensive weapon in Andrea Bargnani. Many analysts say that the Raptors need a defensive presence to turn things around, and if Casey can bring that mentality to the team, that the Raptors could start developing in the right direction.

Colangelo previously stated that ideally he’d like to have his coach before the draft. With just a few days remaining, he has to move quickly. With the fifth pick in the draft, the Raptors will have plenty of options, but the new head coach could heavily influence the decision.

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