Texting and Driving #4: The Case 4 Casey

“The expectation level is sky-high for all of us.
I don’t know if that’s a realistic goal.”

Raptors’ Head Coach, Dwayne Casey

Divider

The Proph

Now would be a great time for you to write a Toronto article: like, what is going on?

Even if it’s not an article, just help me out: what’s going on???

I’m gonna be real with you: It’s so hard for me to get a read on Dwayne Casey.  I think he’s top 3 in some respects, like his Rick-Carlisle-esque ability to use rosters to their fullest ability, but then he’s bottom 5 at least in Xs and Os strategy type stuff.

Arman Bery

He hasn’t been able to find the right balance between the backcourt’s iso tendency while mixing in some off-ball movement.  At least with DeRozan anyway.

The Proph

I think that Dwayne Casey out-coaches most coaches but is vulnerable to being out-maneuvered.  That sounds like platitudes and bull-shit, but do you get what I’m trying to say though?  He doesn’t respond well enough to adjustments and make the right adjustments himself.

Arman Bery

Yeah, I think I get what you mean – Masai put together a pretty good roster for him to use creatively.

But I honestly feel like DeRozan sets a ceiling for this team based off of where he is as a player right now.

The Proph

I wrote an article about a bet that Oliver and I had recently – have u heard that podcast series yet? And then we talk about the Raptors in Playoff Dreams and Trade Machines too. 

Here’s the thing: I’m not even sure the Raptors have a good roster.  It’s possible that Casey has massaged 56-win basketball out of his guys, but I think at least part of the reason they consistently stumble in the playoffs is that they hit their talent ceilings and there’s no one who can legitimately “take over.”

I remember watching Kyle Lowry just get shat on during that last play in regulation before over-time in game 2: he tries to iso on Josh Richardson and he just gets embarrassed.  Air balls it short. 

[KGVID width=”1000″ height=”500″]https://www.almightyballer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Lowry-Air-Ball.mp4[/KGVID]

That’s when I started really thinking about this idea that it’s not that Casey is bad – his roster is bad.  Maybe Casey is utilizing them super well in the regular season, but when the playoffs come around and you need legitimate stars and not just players who can be coached into looking like they are stars, the Raptors hit their wall.

DeMar DeRozan Regular Season vs. Post Season

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 6.32.43 AM

Kyle Lowry Regular Season vs. Post Season

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 6.32.14 AM

Arman Bery

Really?  Joseph and Biyombo are good bench guys, so is Patterson.  We just need more good bigs and more consistent shooting from the outside.

Also, Powell has been awesome.

The Proph

Here’s an example: are either Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan really any better than a 34 year-old Dwayne Wade?

When the Heat needed a bucket, Wade had them covered. When the Heat needed a big play, Wade was there to deliver. It was the opposite of what the Raptors received from DeRozan, who continues to struggle throughout the postseason.

Zack Harper, The unsinkable DeMar DeRozan misfires again in his contract year

I don’t think they are.  I just think Casey can make them look good.  When it comes down to it, head to head, DeRozan is super limited offensively and Kyle Lowry is 5’10” and 30 years old.

Arman Bery

DeRozan is quite limited for sure.

The Proph

You know how Casey is an apple from the Rick Carlisle tree?

He was an assistant coach on that 2011 Mavs championship team?

Arman Bery

dwane

Yup – he was defensive coordinator.

The Proph

Okay, so here’s my logic – you know how guys like Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis were just not that great as soon as they left Dallas and before they got there?  Then, all of a sudden, they’re on Dallas and Monta is good for 20 a night and Tyson is ballin’ out.  I think that’s Casey: when Lowry was on the Rockets he wasn’t half as good as he’s been in Toronto.  I’d be willing to bet that DeRozan wouldn’t be half as good if he was on the Magic being coached by Skiles.  You get where I’m going with this?

I just used Skiles as an example of an average coach.  The same principle applies if he were on, say, the Wizards last year under Whitman.

Arman Bery

Casey is a good motivator, but I don’t think he’s on the level of Carlisle when it comes to shaping his players’ roles.

The Proph

But I’m saying maybe he is.

It’s more obvious in Dallas, with players constantly moving in and out and their roster is overhauled every season.  But if I’m right, then if you moved everyone on the Raptors to different teams, almost all of them would look worse.  DeRozan and Kyle are the biggest examples: Casey is just utilizing their somewhat limited skill sets perfectly – so much so that they look like All-Stars. 

Again, this is just a theory I’ve been thinking about.  I need to do some more digging.

Arman Bery

I believe Lowry always had this talent.

The Proph

Well, you could make that argument about Monta.  A “With the right coach” type of thing?  Maybe Casey is the right coach?

Arman Bery

Some coaching styles fit some playing styles: it doesn’t mean the coach is objectively great.  Maybe they just mesh well

The Proph

Yeah I’m not certain of any of this, but don’t you think it’s at least an interesting thought?

Like Bismack Biyombos improvement, Cory Joseph….

Over the last few years the Raptors have been chronically underrated talent-wise you know – maybe that’s because they do lack talent.

Arman Bery

What about Terrence Ross?  He hasn’t grown at all, and look at his potential:

Plus – don’t you think James Johnson has been misused?

The Proph

141016_TS-james-johnson_650Well Terrence Ross has never been anywhere else, so it’s hard to know if he even can be better utilized.  Then, James Johnson was a D-League pick up, right?

I agree with you in principle on the James Johnson thing, but for the sake of this thought excitement, I’m willing to assume he knows something that I don’t

Arman Bery

Trust me man: Ross has just been a big disappointment his whole Raptors career.  He’s just insanely inconsistent.

The Proph

Yeah, but how do you blame something like that on Casey?

Arman Bery

Well, if you’re arguing that Casey is good at shaping players, he failed with Ross.

The Proph

No I’m not saying that.  I’m saying that he might be a really good coach as in he utilizes players really well.  I can’t really speak to his developmental touch – plus that’s more complicated than a head coach type thing.

Arman Bery

I guess so.

Casey has definitely improved, but his offensive schemes are shit. Even taking into account iso players.

Ellis is an iso player, but Carlisle still made him run pick-and-rolls and dribble hand-offs.

The Proph

I would have to read into this theory some and get back to you to legitimize it; but again, if he’s so bad then how did the raptors play so well this year?

Arman Bery

Feb 28, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey sits on the bench before the game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons win 114-101. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 28, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

That’s fair.  They do have good talent in the East and good assistants like Rex Kalamian.

I’m not saying Casey is bad, by any means: he’s just not top 5.

The Proph

I think at the very least there are significant categories in which he’s top 5 – that’s all im saying

Arman Bery

No way – there’s Carlisle, Popovich, Kerr, Doc, Stevens… and that’s just off the top of my head.

The Proph

I’m saying that it’s a distinct possibility that the Raptors’ real problem isn’t that Casey is a bad coach, or that they have a bad system – they just don’t have the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Arman Bery

Their offensive system is really bad, man.

I mean bad.

The Proph

Your system can only be so good if your team is limited in the way that I’m hypothecizing the Raptors might be.  If I’m right, Casey is doing a really good job with what he has – he just doesn’t have much to work with.  In that case, his system could hardly be called ‘bad.’

Arman Bery

How is it hardly bad….

They don’t run any plays, man!

Their end of the shot clock is bad, they don’t post up Jonas enough – I could go on.

The Proph

I think those are all valid conclusions based on what we know, but I can think of plenty of reasons why those thigns could be true and it wouldn’t be Casey’s fault.  

As far as them not running plays, it’s possible that their offensive players are too limited and cant create enough space to conduct a free-flowing spurs-esque system – so then you have to run plays very deliberately.  Carlisle has coached like that since J-Kidd left and he’s lacked an ultra talented primary facilitator.

Arman Bery

I guess.

Agree to disagree, lol.

The Proph

As far as late shot clock offense, that’s exactly what the Cavs did last year when they clung to their finals series with the Warriors.  Given their talent level, it was the right call. 

If that shit fest of a team brought the Warriors to 6, then the Raptors can grind it out with most of the league – but fail when it’s against the truly elite, which they typically do.

The Raptors’ system isnt that much different than the late season Mavs’ system once everyone got injured.

I’m not sure we disagree, that’s the thing – I’m just thinking out loud.  I tend to think all the same things that you’ve been saying, and I would normally have all the same criticisms.  I’m just considering whether it’s a realistic possibility that the short-comings that appear to be a result of Casey are actually a result of the team’s lack of depth, utility, and talent.

Just playing Devil’s advocate.

Arman Bery

I get what you’re saying, but I think compared to other NBA rosters we have a decently talented roster.

The Proph

What about compared to the thunder?  The Raptors got 1 more regular season win than they did this year (granted it’s the east, i know; but still)

Arman Bery

We’ll have better talent than the Thunder next year when we sign Durant.

body_5_3

The Proph

drake4