ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) was first to break the news that the Toronto Raptors were parting ways with head coach Dwane Casey. Raptors president, Masai Ujiri released a statement concerning the move.
“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take. As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level. We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that.”
From 2012 – 2018, the Raptors were 320 – 238 under Casey, giving him a winning percentage of .573. That’s tops in the Toronto Raptors 20+ year history in the NBA. Casey also led the team to a franchise best 59-23 record this season before the Raptors were ultimately bounced from the playoffs in the 2nd round by the Cleveland Cavs…..again.
In my opinion, firing the head coach was the easy way out. While it’s true that the Raptors will probably never beat a Lebron James lead Cavs team with what they currently have, I don’t believe firing the head coach is what will change this. Casey’s philosophy has always been a defensive one. That has consistently been working for the Raptors. Toronto’s management may not want to face this, but the 2nd round of the playoffs is as far as anyone can take this current team…….as long as Lebron James is with the Cleveland Cavs. Toronto’s two all-stars (Lowry and Derozan) are afraid of playoff Lebron James. I can’t think of a nice way to speak this truth. The pair drop crazy numbers all season long, every season. As soon as they run across a Lebron James lead team in the playoffs, the pair are suddenly uptight, figgity, and I’ll go as far as to say afraid. If you just look at the playoff stats of the pair, they might not tell this story. But if you watch the games, you can clearly see fear and uncertainty in the eyes of Lowry and Derozan whenever they face Lebron james in the playoffs. You’re not going to beat Lebron James in the playoffs if your two all-star players are not playing with full confidence. No matter what the role players do, a team will always look to their stars to lead the way. Derozan and Lowry have not been doing that against playoff Lebron and the Cavs, and probably never will. Until Toronto is willing to face this truth they will never beat a Lebron James lead team in the playoffs…….NEVER! Yes, the Toronto Raptors needed to make a move if they ever hope to get over the Cleveland hump and finally win an NBA Championship. Was the move they made today the one to help them accomplish that goal? In my honest opinion……..NO.