The long wait is over. After firing Stan Van Gundy over a month ago, the Pistons finally have their new coach and his name is Dwane Casey. Despite a long process and the many many candidates the Pistons spoke with, Detroit brought Casey in for multiple interviews and it seems Tom Gores has gotten his man. And believe it or not I think they actually got this hire right.
Casey is fresh off of winning the Coach of the Year award in Toronto after spending seven years as the head coach of the Raptors. During that time he led his team to three consecutive 50 win seasons and five straight playoff appearances. This is the kind of success the Pistons haven’t seen since the “Going to Work” Pistons were in their prime. If Casey can duplicate what he did in Toronto, who was in a similar position compared to where Detroit is now when he took over, then fans will be very happy.
So what does Casey do exactly that leads me to believe he’ll be successful in the Motor City?
The first thing he’ll do is emphasize defense. The Raptors had improved each of the last four years in defensive rating and finished in the top 10 three times under Casey. This came to a peak in 2018 when Toronto finished 5th in this category. It’s hard to say if he’ll have the same success with this Pistons roster, but I don’t see why he can’t considering Detroit ranked 11th in this area last year and are a superior rebounding team and will be able to limit second-chance points more effectively.
Offensively, Casey has run a lot of isolation in the past. He’ll let his guards take over and create. However, last year he started to transition to a ball movement, three-point heavy offense. In fact, the Raptors had the 5th highest percentage of their overall points come from the three ball. This should bode well for Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard and Blake Griffin who are all likely to see a lot of shots from behind the arch under Casey.
In the end, this is a very good hire for the Pistons. Does Casey have shortcomings? Sure, he was fired for a reason, notably failing to make in-game adjustments. However, he was also named Coach of the Year for a reason. The way he builds a culture of defense and has proven flexible and effective in multiple types of offenses could be just what the doctor ordered for the Pistons. I can’t tell you what Casey will or won’t accomplish with the Pistons, but I can tell you that this is the best coach this franchise has had in a decade.
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