HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Watching Dwane Casey work his defensive magic with the Dallas Mavericks from the start all the way until their championship finish during the playoffs provided us with a renewed appreciation for importance of having assistant coaches that are basically coordinators.
As Rick Carlisle‘s defensive coordinator, Casey helped transform a team that was considered anything but defensive-minded into a cohesive unit capable of dealing with anything thrown their way — they did run through the Blazers, Lakers, Thunder and Heat on their way to the crown. There were obviously some good tools to work with, namely Tyson Chandler. The Mavericks finally found the right defensive anchor to help them mask some of their glaring deficiencies. Having Chandler watch Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki‘s back on defense was a definite masterstroke.
But Casey, now the coach in Toronto, will have to work some serious magic to do the same things for the Raptors, a notoriously bad defensive team whose best offensive player, Andrea Bargnani, is the runaway winner of the worst defensive player tag on the team.