Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, who is currently going through his annual roasting by the local Toronto media for not getting past LeBron James and the Cavaliers again this postseason, is about to be recognized as the NBA’s Coach of the Year by the people that actually know something about the job – his peers, according to Mark Stein of The New York Times.
Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors has been selected as the National Basketball Coaches Association’s coach of the year for the 2017-18 season, according to two people with knowledge of the voting.
Casey will be formally announced as the winner of the N.B.C.A. trophy — later Wednesday
The N.B.C.A. introduced its own Coach of the Year Award last season, based on a vote of the league’s 30 head coaches.
Casey led the Raptors to a franchise record 59 wins and first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history after most pundits predicted his team would finish in the middle of the playoff pack with a mid-40s win season.
President Masai Ujiri had stripped the roster of veterans by sending out DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph in trades and permitting Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker to walk in free agency. He did this to reboot a “culture change” or, more accurately, to see what his young players like Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl and rookie OG Anunoby could do if Casey was forced into playing them significant minutes. Ujiri then filled in the back end of his roster with undrafted prospects to ensure Casey wasn’t tempted to look to veteran help when things got tough.
The unexpected result was one of the best benches in the NBA this past season, something numerous other head coaches acknowledged during trips to Toronto.
Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks,
“In my humble opinion, (Casey) is the Coach of the Year.
“Their bench is really good. That unit just moves the scoreboard.”
It would be fair to say expectations for this year’s postseason got ahead of where Casey’s roster was at in their development as the bench was not effective against a far more seasoned Cavaliers rotation, but the NBA’s coaches had no trouble acknowledging the impressive season Casey was able to put together.
The N.B.C.A. Coach of the Year Award is separate from the NBA’s Coach of the Year voted on by members of the news media.