Who would win a Raptors-only track-and-field day? How good is Amir Johnson’s Celine Dion impression? Every day until the season starts, we throw a Raptor in front of a green screen and ask him the tough questions. Today, Dwane Casey tells us about the last time he cried at the movies.
Know Your Raptors: Lou Williams | Kyle Lowry | Bruno Caboclo | Chuck Hayes | Jonas Valanciunas | Amir Johnson | Tyler Hansbrough | Landry Fields | Terrence Ross | James Johnson | Patrick Patterson | Lucas Nogueira | DeMar DeRozan | Greivis Vasquez | Dwane Casey
Consider the following quotes from Dwane Casey in this Sportsnet magazine profile of the Raptors head coach:
· “We’re not trying to just win a game. We want to get better. We want to build something for the future, a foundation. And if it’s anything less than that then we shouldn’t be in the business.
· “We’re not going to be satisfied until we’re fighting for the fifth or sixth spot in the playoffs, fighting for seeding.”
· “Is it pie in the sky? I don’t think so. We have some good pieces, we have cap flexibility, and the approach of defence first is a playoff mentality. ‘Pound the Rock’ is more than a catchy slogan.”
Those were Casey’s words little more than two years ago, as his first season at the helm of the team was drawing to a close. That was a rough year, marked by a poor record and a roster in flux.
Naturally, many at the time read Casey’s words and dismissed them as unrealistically optimistic. But when the coach sat in a seat in the Air Canada Centre upper deck overlooking an empty arena there was a sincerity and conviction in his voice. After a lifetime in the game of basketball, he recognized something most people didn’t. And now, under his guidance, the Toronto Raptors are fighting for playoff seeding and home-court advantage. They’re a top-10 defensive team with a foundation built for now and for the future. Just like he said they would be.
Here’s another quote:
· “I see the big picture, and I see growth and that’s what I want my guys to understand. There will come a moment when we’re going to be judged on wins and losses.”
We are in that moment, and thanks to a strong 2013–14 season, Casey enters his fourth year on the job with higher expectations than ever. Just like he planned. Was it “pie in the sky” to believe that the Raptors could be a contender and so soon? Evidently not.
2013–14 coaching record: 48–34 (regular season), 3-4 (playoffs)