59 wins, number one seed in the Eastern Conference, and making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. I guess that’s not good enough to cut it in the NBA anymore. After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Semifinals, the Toronto Raptors have fired Head Coach Dwane Casey. In my opinion this is a huge mistake. It’s not every day you get a coach who can lead you to 59 wins and a number one seed. I understand that Casey had yet to win a championship or even take the Raptors to an NBA Finals, but his coaching is not the reason why.
The reason why Dwane Casey hasn’t been able to get the Raptors to the Finals is LeBron James. I suspect one of the reasons why the Raptors fired Dwane Casey is because he hasn’t been able to figure out a way to beat LeBron, but what they’re forgetting is that nobody else in the Eastern Conference has been able to figure that out either. Raptors, do you really think you’re going to find a coach who can come in and figure out how to beat LeBron next year?
Only a few coaches in the NBA have been able to figure out how to beat LeBron James over the last few years. Steve Kerr is one of those coaches. The first time he did it, he had Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. The next year he almost did it again, but LeBron came out on top. Then to beat LeBron again, the Warriors had to get Kevin Durant. I’d be willing to bet that if Dwane Casey had Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant rather than DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, he’d be able to beat LeBron too.
Another coach who’s been able to figure out how to beat LeBron recently is Gregg Popovich. When LeBron was in Miami, Popovich and the Spurs faced off against the Heat two years in a row in the NBA Finals. The Spurs were able to win one of those championships. Who did Popovich have? Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. If you gave Dwane Casey Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker back then, I’d be willing to bet he could have beaten LeBron James.
By saying this I’m not knocking Steve Kerr or Gregg Popovich as coaches. Both of them are great coaches, but they also had great talent on their team. Having a great coach can get you to the playoffs. Gregg Popovich has been able to get the Spurs to the playoffs with lone All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard barely playing. Having a great coach can only take you so far when don’t have the right players. I refuse to believe that if Steve Kerr or Gregg Popovich were the Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors, the outcome of the Cavaliers and Raptors series would have been different.
Dwane Casey is a great NBA Head Coach. Since becoming the coach of the Toronto Raptors, all he’s done is make them better. The first two seasons he was with the team they didn’t make the playoffs, but then he led them to two straight seasons with 48+ wins. Those two years were followed by three straight years of 50+ wins. The Raptors aren’t going to find a coach who can step in right away and do better than that.
Toronto will probably still make the playoffs without Dwane Casey as Head Coach, but I doubt whoever they bring in to coach this team is going to get them to a place where Dwane Casey couldn’t, at least not while LeBron James is around. This is already one of the worst moves of the NBA offseason, and we’re still in the playoffs. All I can say to the Toronto Raptors organization, is good luck finding someone better.