Dwane Casey can now draw a line under his tenure with the Toronto Raptors, after being named NBA Coach of the Year on Monday night.
It’s fair to say it’s been an eventful couple of months for Dwane Casey. First up, he was fired by the Toronto Raptors on May 11.
Next, Casey was hired as head coach for the Detroit Pistons on June 11. And on Monday night, he got to add some silverware to his resume.
As reported by the Canadian Press via Sportsnet, the 61-year-old was officially named NBA Coach of the Year. The presentation took place at the second annual NBA awards, in Santa Monica, California.
For many, it was perceived as an awkward moment. After all, Casey was being rewarded for what he achieved during the 2017-18 season, even though it ultimately ended with him being fired by Masai Ujiri.
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However, from Casey’s perspective, he should use it as an opportunity to draw a line under his tenure in Toronto. I’ve already gone on record as saying he deserved another season, but it’s still time to move on.
Being named Coach of the Year provides the opportunity for the Indianapolis, Indiana native to concentrate on a new chapter in his life. Who knows how much more he can achieve in his coaching career?
In fairness to Casey, any lingering doubts or questions about his firing now seem to be firmly in the rear view mirror, as he looks to the future with the Pistons. As per the Canadian Press:
"“When you get fired, which I did recently, I don’t know if you knew that or not, after winning coach of the year,” said Casey to laughs from the crowd. “You always doubt yourself a little bit. You think ‘OK, can I do this? Do I want to do this again?’“But then I interviewed with Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons. He and I connected and he’s given me an opportunity that I’m very appreciative of. For someone to believe in you, that’s all you want as a player and as a coach.”"
On some level, it may sound crazy to think Casey lost some confidence. After all, he just resided over the most successful period in Raptors’ history, including a franchise record 59 regular season wins this past campaign.
In reality though, it makes sense that the former Dallas Mavericks’ assistant would doubt himself. After all, if a 59-win season and first ever top seed can get your fired, then theoretically anything can!
How much Casey is missed in Toronto remains to be seen. Hopefully for Raptors fans it will be very little, as it will mean Nick Nurse is doing something right.
For now though, all we can do is applaud one of the most classy and humble people you will ever meet in professional sports. And these attributes were on display one more time Monday night, as he discussed the Raptors:
"All the players in Toronto in the past four or five years,” said Casey, as per Sportsnet. “DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, all the core guys that built the program to where it is today.“Finishing with the 59 wins this year, franchise record, those guys are four-time all-stars, Olympians, I’m so proud of them."
No doubt, the majority of the Toronto Raptors’ fanbase is just as proud of Casey. And now he can walk away with some much-needed closure.
How would you summarize Casey’s time with the Toronto Raptors? Were they right to fire him? What kind of success do you predict for him in Detroit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.