The Toronto Raptors just completed their third consecutive 50-win season for the first time in franchise history. They have been to the playoffs five seasons in a row, which is also a franchise record.
In the 2017-2018 season, they finished 3rd in the league in offensive efficiency and 5th in defensive efficiency and earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a franchise record 59 wins.
Head coach Dwane Casey could potentially win Coach of the Year. But according to the chatter around the league, he could also be out of a job before the playoffs are over.
The Raptors currently trail the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-0 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, and could be eliminated from the playoffs in game 4 tonight in Cleveland. That would be the 3rd consecutive season they have been eliminated by
LeBron James himself the Cavaliers in the playoffs.
Coach Casey took the job in 2011, and Toronto only won 23 games in that first season. They have shown steady improvement almost every year, winning the Atlantic Division in three of the last four seasons.
Casey has brought the Raptors out of the cellar, but they have appeared to have reached their ceiling. At least for as long as LeBron James is in the East, it is hard to imagine them making a run at a title.
Would ownership seriously consider making a change after setting a franchise record in wins? Kevin O’Connor over at The Ringer thinks it is a distinct possibility.
“Executives around the league anticipate that the Raptors will make a coaching change, though there are no guarantees after Toronto’s success this regular season,” O’Connor wrote on Saturday, shortly after LeBron’s buzzer beater established his ownership of the entire city of Toronto.
The Raptors’ roster is pretty locked up moving forward, for better or for worse. And many believe that assistant coach Nick Nurse should get credit for a great deal of Toronto’s success.
While it hardly seems fair that consistently losing to arguably the best player of all time should cause a coach to lose his job, Casey certainly seems to be on the hot seat.
Could a win or two before Cleveland inevitably closes out the series make a difference? Could his regular season success earn him one more year in hopes that LeBron James moves west?
Only time will tell, but in the meantime things do not look good for the former Kentucky Wildcat’s coaching career.