Dwane Casey should have more success this season. The answers as to why are many, which begins with the fact he will have a full training camp to work with this roster. I am not sure if we give enough credit for what he was able to accomplish last season under less than ideal circumstances. What he was able to accomplish with a roster that was not as talented as the one he has now can not be applauded enough. He did it with so little time as well.
The lack of training camp and practices was well documented around the NBA last season. It is only natural common sense that Casey with more time should be able to accomplish more. “Pound the Rock” was something we had a lot of fun with in the DNB last season. I personally saw the whole concept as a little college like in nature. Casey was able to sell it though and his players bought in. If you didn’t buy in that you apparently are not going stick around. James Johnson would be an example of that, despite having a defensive skill set that should have worked well with Casey. It speaks to a word I have said a lot in talking about Casey. Accountability has returned to the Raptors vocabulary.
Casey will not only have more time, but more players that fit the style of basketball Casey wants to play. All of the Raptor additions have one common theme and that would be a defensive mindset. For years I have moaned in this blog just how important a point guard that can defend is in this new modern NBA. Casey now has one that should fit the bill in Kyle Lowry. He has guys that will be on his bench that will push others to bring it on defence. DeMar DeRozan has a motivation to play better defence in the form of Raptors first round pick Terrence Ross. Landry Fields is a solid defender as well that could play at the shooting guard or the small forward positions.
We could keep this going but to sum it up Casey now as depth and options if individuals are not working well within the system. The one thing a coach has control of that gives him power is minutes. He decides just how much you will play and that is how he can send his message. The trading of James Johnson shows that the organization to some extent has Dwane Casey’s back.
That is important and goes back to what they had in Utah for so many years with Jerry Sloan. In Utah there was a system and that system was ruled by Jerry Sloan. You didn’t fit the system or didn’t work well with Jerry Sloan and your stay in Utah would not be fun or long.
In the modern NBA that ruling with an iron fist approach alone is hard to make work. Casey has some of that in him but he has also shown an ability to work with his players and get them to buy in to varying degrees. It was made very clear to me from being in the Raptors’ locker room last season that Casey had the respect of the room.
So you should expect more from Casey in year number two as Raptors Head Coach. However all this talk of playoffs might not be a fair expectation. You may have to “Pound the Rock” a little longer before you are rewarded with the post-season. Casey will still try his best to push this team to exceed realistic expectations and the point is the Raptors have started to build an identity that can be successful.
Some Other Non-related Notes:
I ranked my top 5 dunkers in Raptor history for the Bleacher Report. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts over there. I would love to hear from DNB Readers there as well. In addition the Raptors finally made it official that Jaamal Magloire will be back at least for training camp. I talked about this earlier in the week so I will not add much to what I have already said. Ultimately Maglorie should not make this roster of 15 and if he does something has went wrong. This is assuming the Raptors don’t make a trade in which more players go out than come back. If we are talking about the 16 players currently on the roster it seems pretty simple to me that Magloire is the odd man out.