If the season ended after one round of the playoffs, Toronto would have called their year an unmitigated success. The Raptors won 59 games, had a top-5 offense and a top-5 defense, and combined play from their star guards with masterful rotations and the creation of a bench unit that demolished opposing bench lineups all year.
Dwane Casey received a bulk of that credit, and he’s favored to win the NBA’s coach of the year award. Today, he received that honor from his peers:
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 9, 2018
So, a great year for Toronto and Casey! Surely they’ll be looking to build on this success. (checks notes) Oh, no, he’s actually going to get fired.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 8, 2018
While nothing’s final, it’s actually probably going to happen! Stranger still, it almost kind of makes sense! The Raptors were swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland in the second round, the same Cleveland team that was outplayed by the Pacers across seven games in round 1. Toronto was also taken to six games by the Wizards in the first round. That means for the postseason, the 59-win Raptors went 4-6.
That’s bad! And when your roster is relatively inflexible, and when you have years and years of postseason disappointment (even if most of that was at the hands of LeBron, who beats just about everyone in the playoffs), it’s harder and harder to go into the next year expecting something different. The danger, though, is that there aren’t many names available out there who are definitely upgrades over Casey, and continuity does have some benefits.
But then again, 4-6. And they just rolled over against Cleveland, too. Of course, if Casey is fired, it’s going to lead to a fun spectacle at the NBA’s awards ceremony on June 25th, when Casey could be presented with the NBA’s coach of the year award after having lost his job over his team’s performance.