Dwane Casey is in his second season coaching the Raptors. (Getty Images)Looking back at the first quarter of the NBA season it's fair to say nothing has come easily to the Toronto Raptors (insert sarcastic joke about losing here.) And at 4-19, with few positives surrounding the franchise, it'd be simple at this point for a roster of young players to lay down, give up and call for 'change' or in other words, the firing of their head coach.
But not this team. This group appears to still believe in Dwane Casey and trust that he's the best man for the job of leading them out of what's been a disastrous start to the season.
Ed Davis told Sportsnet.ca Thursday when asked about his head coach:
"I think he's done a great job," Davis said. "Just starting with him being the same, not changing. Some coaches they might come in and don't speak. He always speaks to everybody, he's always been the same, the whole way since the first day that he got here and that helps a lot."
DeMar DeRozan agrees with his teammate. The 23-year-old who has become a primary factor in the Raptors offence also spoke highly of his coach in an interview with Eric Koreen of the National Post Thursday:
"It's important because it's tough going coach to coach," DeRozan said. "It was tough last year. Even though we did well on the defensive end, you still struggle at parts. You're still learning. [Casey] is definitely good for us.
"He's definitely been on us, but one thing he has been trying to [do is] keep us positive out of everything. It's easy to do whatever, to throw in the towel and not still be able to fight. Like [Wednesday night against Brooklyn], we had every excuse in the world. We could have went out and laid down, but [we did not]. Just keeping us positive and keeping us working hard."
DeRozan is right. Had the Raptors lost by a large margin Wednesday they would have at least had an excuse -- Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson were all out of the lineup. Instead they fought on and for the majority of the first three quarters it seemed like they were going to somehow pull out a victory.
But defensive lapses and missed offensive opportunities — both of which likely stemmed from the fact that Toronto had just eight players on their roster — allowed Brooklyn to take over the game in the latter part of the third quarter.
As Koreen points to in his story, it would be impossible to not at least put a portion of the blame on Casey considering it was his title as a 'defensive guru' that brought him to the Raptors in the first place. It's been on the defensive side of the ball where the team has struggled the most this season. The Raptors finished 14th in the NBA in overall defence last season and now sit dead last in the league in the same category.
So yes Casey deserves some of the blame, but if Davis' and DeRozan's comments reflect the feelings of the entire roster then it's not time for the organization to turn on Casey. At least not yet.