Yet, the Raptors once again trail LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the playoffs.
Toronto is down 3-0 entering tonight’s Game 4 in Cleveland. Could this be Casey’s last game coaching the Raptors?
Executives around the league anticipate that the Raptors will make a coaching change, though there are no guarantees after Toronto’s success this regular season.
Casey did an excellent job this regular season, leading Toronto to a franchise-record 59 wins. The Raptors – third in offensive rating, fifth in defensive rating – were the only team top five in both categories. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan grew as players and were All-Stars.
But getting swept by the Cavs would be another crushing end for the Raptors, who’ve flamed out in the postseason annually under Casey. At this point, Casey just sounds defeated.
I tend to think – considering the Raptors are fairly locked into their current roster – they should stay the course with Casey. He’s a good coach and another year with the new system could pay dividends. Maybe LeBron James signs with a Western Conference team or finally declines significantly with age or gets hurt. Toronto might catch a break. Would any coach have gotten the Raptors past LeBron these last three years?
If Casey gets fired, it sets up an awkward possibility – him winning Coach of the Year while out of a job or working elsewhere. It was stunning enough when the Nuggets fired George Karl weeks after he won the award. But the NBA’s new award show means Toronto could easily move on from Casey before the 2018 Coach of the Year is revealed June 25.