In what might seem to be a very cruel move by some, the Toronto Raptors have officially moved away from the Dwane Casey era. The news, expected by just about everyone with any knowledge of the basketball world, came down on Friday. This is a bitter blow to the coach, who has undoubtedly been the best one in the history of the team. He had even won Coach of the Year, awarded by his own peers this year, for his record of 59 wins that helped get them the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
However, that number one seed was not put to good use by them. It took them six shaky games to get past the eight seed Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs, and it became abundantly clear at that point that they were going to have issues in the second round. That would be the understatement of the year, of course, as they were beaten all ends up by LeBron James and the Cavaliers, even with the King not always playing his best, most dominant basketball.
As good as the Raptors have become in the regular season, this move just had to be made. While the coach is not responsible for the ultimate performance of the players, this is the easiest move by the franchise to show that they are doing something to try to improve in the playoffs. This team has lost ten straight time to LeBron James in playoff games and have been swept two years in a row. There will be people calling for trades of their star players, and while that could well happen, it will be tough to do that given how they have came up woefully short in the postseason.
So this is the best move forward for the front office of the Raptors to try and chance the perception of the team. The next big question is just how they go forward from here. Will they look to make a ton of changes or will this be the most extreme one made? In a league where General Managers are just as important to the teams’ success, this is not a surprise to see Casey take the fall. So it will be interesting to see how much personnel gets moved around and if they truly are looking to improve the team when the games matter the most.