The Toronto Raptors, sadly referred to as “LeBronto” after the Cleveland Cavaliers swept them for the second year in a row, has decided to make a coaching change.
Dwane Casey, who coached his team through a 59-win season and was awarded the Michael H. Goldberg Coach of the Year Award this week by the NBA Coaches Association, has officially been fired. He’s the first coach in history to win that award and still be fired. Call it the LeBron James effect. Casey has by far been the most successful coach in the history of Toronto’s franchise. In his seven-year tenure, he led the Raptors to five winning seasons and five playoff appearances. Prior to him at the helm, the franchise never even won a playoff series.
This season, in particular, Casey showed off some of his best work with the number one seed in the East and had one of the most effective teams on both ends of the court. Despite Casey’s success during the regular season, many fans were still hesitant to rally behind the squad because they’ve never been able to produce at the same caliber in the postseason.
Born in Indianapolis, Casey got his coaching start in the ’80s as an assistant for Kentucky before he took a head coaching job in the Japanese Basketball League for the Sekisui Chemical and Isuzu Motors Lynx. Then in the mid-90s, he made his way back to the States as an assistant for the Seattle Supersonics. And after stints with the Timberwolves and the Mavericks, he became the head coach for the Raptors.
Awards, accolades, and praise from your fellow coaches are great, but the NBA has made it clear that postseason success is what’s most important.