On Wednesday he was named NBCA Coach of the Year by Dwane Casey's colleague Michael H. Goldberg. He was out of work on Friday after the Toronto Raptors dismissed him as head coach after seven seasons, having reached unprecedented heights in regular time, but failed to make deep playoff runs.
This dichotomy raises the fundamental question for the Raptors Casey Fate: Did they outperform in the regular season or underperform in the playoffs? Which of these facts is true will ultimately decide if this step made sense.
Fall for Casey
Torontos 59 victories in the regular season 2017-18 are the third highest of a team that has opted for a change coach after the year. George Karl's contract was not renewed after 1
As Casey Raptors, won the last Flip Saunders & # 39; Detroit Pistons 2007-08 59 games. They even reached the final of the conference before losing to eventual champion Boston Celtics. But the Pistons left Saunders hoping to revive a team nearing the end of their run.
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It is safe to say that none of these steps worked as the teams hoped. The Sonics slipped to .500 under Paul Westphal after the lockout, with Vin Baker's relegation to alcoholism being an important factor. Westphal took little more than two seasons in Seattle.
James & # 39; s departure sent Cleveland into the lottery, and it eventually brought Brown back to replace Byron Scott after three years at the top. And with Chauncey Billups's catastrophic deal for Allen Iverson escalating the mistake, Detroit fell 20 games in the table and was swept by Brown's Cavaliers in the first round in Michael Curry's only season as NBA head coach.
There is strong evidence supporting the notion that Casey was able to get the most out of a limited list during the regular season. Toronto outperformed its pre-season projection with ESPN's Real Plus Minus (RPM) in six of Casey's seven years with the Raptors. Twice, also in the past season, they have surpassed it with at least 10 victories.
This pre-season talent assessment seems to catch up with the teams to some degree in the playoffs. Of the 20 teams between 2009-10 and last season, to beat their RPM projection with at least 10 wins and reach the postseason, 13 have been worse off in the playoffs than would be expected for a team with their offspring. On average, these teams scored around 13 percent worse than expected. The excessive performance in the regular season can directly contribute to the playoffs not doing so well.
The case against
I imagine that the president of Toronto, Masai Ujiri, rated his team's RPM better than RPM. As I mentioned in the statement, why the projection missed the mark so much, RPM put the Raptors Bank down as a weakness because the experienced anchor Patrick Patterson left. Instead, a group of young players found by the front office – including the uncontaminated Fred VanVleet and the late first-round players, Pascal Siakam and Delon Wright – emerged as the NBA's best second unit.
The analytically sovereign shot card went to assistant coach Nick Nurse, who arrived after two seasons as head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in Toronto. Nurse was responsible when the Vipers began their transition into the country's most aggressive 3-point professional team, which was eventually mirrored by their home team, the Houston Rockets.
As Raptors' offensive coordinator, Nurse is credited with designing pick-up games and controlled scrimmages, where Toronto players were awarded four points for corner 3s and zero or minus 1 points for 2-point jumpers out of color.
These habits are transferred to the regular season. Toronto was expecting to take 2s out of the paint, with the league's 12th highest rate in 2016-17 through the 26th this season, which increased the team's odds of 3s and shots in the suspended area. Per second Spectrum Quantified Shot Quality (qSQ) measure, which improves Raptors from the seventh-worst set attempts to respect the league-best.
Perhaps the most significant improvement came in the playoffs. In the past four years, Toronto's offensive has consistently performed worse than the league average, taking into account the regular defensive rating of Raptors opponents in the regular season. Last season, Toronto's offense was 5.4 points per 100 possessions worse than the average, based on this measure. This year, even after being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Raptors rated 2.4 points per 100 possessions better than the average in attack.
While Casey earned recognition for flexibility and the implementation of the philosophy changes, it was not his comfort zone as a coach. Casey's focus was increasingly on the defensive end of the court. Under his watch, Toronto was three times in the top ten of the NBA in the defensive standings and finished fifth this season. This time it was the Raptors defense that did not translate into the playoffs as they could not find an answer to stop LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Casey vulnerable
Toronto bet on talent
Having lost in the play-offs against Cleveland for the third season in a row, it was probably inevitable that Ujiri would make a difference in order to achieve a different result. Shaking the roster will be difficult. The Raptors would be forced to sell the All-Star Guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, and the number of other teams dealing with luxury tax issues would challenge such trades (or one involving Serge Serge Ibaka). 19659002] So Toronto is likely to bring back a similar group and hope that a change of coach will solve the team's postseason problems. The greater track record of teams moving away from their trainer after more than 50 years of victory is a bit more mixed than the small selection of teams that are as good as the Raptors. While these teams average on average 4.5 times fewer games the following season, this is the typical drop-off for teams with more than 50 wins due to aging, change of rosters, and fall to the median.
Examples of other elite teams The coaching changes, as well as the last time a team won a coach of the year after losing the Denver Nuggets 2013-14 with George Karl at the start of the postseason season – the move is risky. Casey has proved his ability as a regular season coach and should be an attractive option for other teams with coaching vacancies. Nevertheless, with its other limited options, Ujiri realized that this is worth the risk.