Entering his third year as head coach of the Raptors, Dwayne Casey has a wealth of experience with 18 years in the league. He was head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2005-07 and was in charge of the Dallas Mavericks‘ defense from 2008-11, a unit that won over 50 games each of three seasons Casey was there.
His time in Canada has not been as successful as his tenure in Texas. Casey finds himself in the hot seat before the season even starts, as a .385 winning percentage has not cut it thus far. Casey is optimistic however, as a strong finish last season saw his side hover around the .500 mark for the final 20 games. We will have a better picture of his status as coach around December.
Bill Bayno joins the organisation this season having years of experience in the NBA and college under his belt. He served under Rick Adelman of the Timberwolves since 2011. The 51 year-old also served as a special assistant for the Portland Trial Blazers, giving him the right credentials for his new role with the Raptors.
Another new addition to the staff this year is Nick Nurse, formerly of Rio Grande of the D-League. Nurse is thought to be an up-and-coming offensive coach, an attribute desperately needed on a defensive-minded team.
Former Houston Rockets assistant, Jesse Mermuys, will act as a player development coach for the young core of the roster. Players such as Terence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas and D.J. Augustin will especially look for Mermuys’ guidance.
Former University of British Columbia player Jama Mahlalela is yet another new recruit for the season ahead. Mahalela has spent time as director of basketball operations for NBA Asia, and an assistant coach for the University of Toronto.
The new additions will inject fresh energy and ideas, but so much change may have an adverse affect on the team. Continuity is an often overlooked element in basketball, and it will be interesting to see the consequences as the season goes on.