Dwane Casey has been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for the month of January, the NBA announced Monday.
Casey helped lead the Toronto Raptors to a 12-2 record for the month, which included the entirety of their current 11-game winning streak. That winning streak includes five wins against teams above .500 and an average margin of victory of 11.7, decisive stuff. The team’s played well enough that they’ve firmly established themselves as the favorite for the No. 2 seed in the East, just 2.5 games back of the Cavaliers and 5.5 ahead of the Bulls and Hawks. They’ve also played well enough that some expected the NBA to tweak their rules and give Casey the nod as the coach for the East All-Stars
Tyronn Lue was robbed. https://t.co/Dldmo9zDQW
— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) February 1, 2016
This is Casey’s third time winning the award, giving him three of the four instances of a coach getting the honor in franchise history. He was given honorable mention in November and December, too.
Overall, the Raptors are 32-15 and rank sixth in offensive efficiency, eighth on the defensive side, and sixth in net rating. This, despite a great deal of missed time for Jonas Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll and a third of the roster being dedicated to prospects who have been deemed unable to contribute yet. Whatever your thoughts on Casey as a manager of the in-game minutiae – and his lack of offensive creativity is decidedly overstated – he’s firmly established that he’s a solid coach in the marco. Installing an entirely new defense and finding quick success despite heavy roster turnover, maintaining offensive effectiveness with several key pieces lost, fostering chemistry, managing through injuries, all of these are things that get lost when he calls a late-game isolation play or makes a curious substitution pattern or leaves Kyle Lowry in far too long. Those criticisms are fair, too, but on occasion it’s worth zooming out to appreciate that for three seasons now, he’s led a team that’s out-performed expectations.
Now, in terms of his lame duck status – the team holds an option on his contract for 2016-17 – well, I don’t think even a Coach of the Year award would make his job secure if the team were to lose in the first round again. Good can, on occasion, be the enemy of great, and general manager Masai Ujiri will face another tough decision this summer no matter how good a job Casey has done or will do from here.
Still, kudos to Casey on a job well done so far.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry received honorable mention for Player of the Week, which seems to be a weekly occurrence at this point.
Follow @raptorsrepublicFollow @BlakeMurphyODCDwane Casey named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month originated on Raptors Republic: ESPN TrueHoop Network Blog.