After parting ways with the Raptors, Dwane Casey is once again a head coach. Dwane Casey has agreed to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Last month, the Toronto Raptors fired Dwane Casey. Casey was fired after the Raptors were swept in the second round of the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Raptors after the Cavs won a seven game series against the Pacers.
In the regular season, the Raptors had the best record of the Eastern Conference. The Raptors finished the season 59-23. They were arguably the favorites of the Eastern Conference. But, the Cavaliers stopped the Raptors from getting past the second round. Perhaps the expectations for the Raptors were too high. At the same time, they were the first seed. The odds were potentially in their favor.
After the Raptors lost against the Cavaliers, the Raptors fired Dwane Casey. I thought this was a questionable move. Casey was named NBCA Coach of the Year shortly after being fired. Casey coached the Raptors for seven years. The Raptors made the playoffs five of those seven years. He was the first Raptors head coach to ever be selected as head coach of the NBA All-Star game. He also got his 300th win as a coach for the Raptors in the regular season. Casey is a reliable coach who accomplished a lot for the Raptors. But perhaps the Raptors thought it was time for a change. Whether it was the right decision, only time will tell.
The Pistons signed Dwane Casey after parting ways with Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons and Casey agreed to a five-year contract. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said that the Pistons were aggressive in their pursuit of Casey. Tom Gores, the Pistons' owner and Ed Stefanski, the senior adviser, sold Casey with an aggressive contractual commitment. They also convinced Casey that they can make the Pistons a playoff bound team. The Pistons currently have All-Star Forward Blake Griffin, who they acquired from the Clippers in a trade. They want to build their roster around him.
Dwane Casey already has plans for Blake Griffin and the Pistons. His number one priority is to keep Griffin healthy. He also wants to expand Blake Griffin's game. Casey explained what he intends to do as a guest on the Stephen A. Smith radio show.
"We're going to empower him to expand his game, a lot like DeMar DeRozan in Toronto," he said. "Expand his game out to the 3-point line, have some point-forward responsibilities with the basketball out on the floor bringing it down. Because he's more than just a back-down, post-up player."
Blake Griffin is 29 years old and will be entering the 8th season of his career. He is not a free-agent until 2022.
If the Pistons and Griffin are in it for the "long haul," the Pistons should look to make consistent improvements to their roster. The Pistons had a record of 39-43, which put them slightly under .500. They were the 9th seed of the Eastern Conference. With the addition of Casey and improvements to their roster, they can potentially become a playoff bound team.
Dwane Casey does not have to sit out for a year or more without a coaching job. He will be the Pistons coach in the 2018-2019 season. This is an opportunity for a fresh start. In my opinion, this is a win-win for both the Pistons and Dwane Casey. I believe that at times, coaching is used as a scapegoat for a team's shortcomings, when it might be the roster. I think the Raptors will realize this at some point during the 2018-2019 regular season. The Pistons will likely be a playoff bound team even if it is only the 8th seed. The addition of Dwane Casey is a step in the right direction.