Source: Laurence Kesterson/AP
In the words of the late Owen Hart “enough is enough and it’s time for a change.”. The Toronto Raptors need change and the biggest one will have to come from the head coaching position. Last couple of years I've been calling for Dwayne Casey to get fired. He’s not a bad a coach but he s not the coach that’s gonna propel the Raptors. Given that the Raptors became the first number 1 seed to get swept before the conference finals. It’s a disappointing way to end the season. The Raptors have underperformed in the playoffs and this can’t continue. With having the best record in the Eastern Conference and getting ousted easily by the Cavs, a change at head coach needs to happen.
The Raptors have been dealt a big blow losing to the Cavs for the third straight year and being swept for the second consecutive year in a row. For a team that seemed to have the pieces together they just couldn’t beat the Cavs. Not even one game. Being blown out in game 2 and 4, while losing heartbreakers in game 1 and 3. The bottom line was the Raptors looked like an 8th seed that barley made the playoffs. For a team that preaches on defence that wasn’t the case on this series. Giving up big runs and blowing game 1 while not even looking like a team in gave 2 and 4 it goes to show you that the player are not listening to Casey. It’s also cringe worthy to watch Casey complain to the refs while his team is getting blown out. Instead of bringing your attention to the refs, bring it to your players. The biggest takeaway is that Casey doesn’t have an answer to LeBron and the Cavs. The players looked lost. Korver, Love and Smith played big difference makers in this series. That wasn’t the case against Indiana. The Raptors at times were sloppy and took bad fouls. They couldn’t hang with Cleveland and especially when it counted.
The big issue though is guys like Lowry, Derozan and JV are locked into big contracts, so there’s no way you're getting great value in return, so Casey has to go. If you keep him it will be same thing next year. Masai Ujiri needs to put away loyalty and do what’s necessary. Fire Casey. His style is too easy for other teams to adapt to and stop. Iso ball has become a running joke when it comes to the Dinos. It’s one dimensional and its not helping Derozan, Lowry or the team. Every 4th quarter in crunch time it’s the same game plan, give the ball to Demar or Kyle. This game plan is garbage. It’s too predictable especially when your bench can perform but Casey sticks to it anyways. The Raptors need a new coach and Jerry Stackhouse is their guy. With the G league becoming a more prominent minor league to the NBA and getting more players coming from there each year, Stackhouse might only have been coaching for a few years but he’s helped coach players like Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam and Fred Van Fleet. He’s helped all of their progressions. He coached the Raptors 905 to a championship and was named coach of the year. His hunger and knowledge of the game can certainly help players like Derozan and Lowry. His experience playing in the league and being an All-Star could mentor the team to play on a higher level. Being a mentor and a coach would be an asset to this team. He’s become a huge target from a lot of teams who want him as their coach. So why waste him and let him go? That would be foolish on Ujiri's part not to hire Stackhouse. Golden State fired Mark Jackson in 2014 after wining 50 games (a first since '94) and hired Steve Kerr. What happened? Two NBA titles. David Blatt was fired after having the best record in the East and a season before coached the Cavs to the Finals. The Cavs hired assistant coach Tyrone Lue and the team came back down 3-1 and beat the Warriors to win the franchises first NBA title. The Raptors can’t hesitate to make a coaching change. Sometimes it’s best to take a gamble.
It's time for the Raptors to make a big change. The window is getting smaller and smaller. With the Celtics and Sixers becoming big threats in the East and if LeBron stays in the east. The Raptors don’t have much time to waste. If they want to get better they need a new coach. If they want to become a better playoff team they need a new coach. If they want more out of Lowry and Derozan they need a new coach. The time is ticking. The most successful coach in Raptors history needs to go. A change in the guard is necessary if this franchise wants to reach new heights. Stackhouse could be the guy. It’s a decision that could benefit the team and make Ujiri look like a genius.