This, in a nutshell, is the surprising (?) result of a quick Q & A session I did with Dave/College Wolf of TWolves blog, the site covering Minnesota of the Bloguin network.
For your pleasure (?), here is the complete transcript, I think it should work as a warning for Ed Stefanski and all of us Sixers fans.
(S4G): Casey’s record as T’Wolves head coach in 2006/2007 was 33-49 and was 20-20 the year after, when Mc Hale fired him and put Randy Wittman in his place (Wittman went 12-30 the rest of the way…). What do you remember of that stint, other than they were surely troubled seasons in Minnesota, and that coaching Szczerbiak, Olowokandi, Ricky Davis, Marco Jaric etc surely wasn’t an easy task?
(CW): Yes, we had bad teams, but don’t forget though that we also had KG near his absolute prime. Those seasons he was one of the (arguably) Top 5 players in the league. With that said, the Casey Coaching Era (CCE) was quite a while ago, so I apologize for not being to elaborate with tons and tons of details for you and your readers.
However, a few things stick out in my mind, and I can assure you that they were not good things. First off, Casey was nearly an epic fail at coaching X’s and O’s. At times, some of us Wolves fans wondered if he had any idea if he knew what he was doing at all. He was especially terrible coming out of timeouts.
It might not have been as bad as I am making it sound, but our playcalling/execution coming out of timeouts was absurd and horrendous. It seemed like we would never score, and most times it resulted in a turnover or terrible shot.
Again, it probably wasn’t *that bad*, but the fact that it is something I’ve never forgotten about the CCE has got to mean something. Casey’s substitutions were illogical and nonsensical. We fans were pulling our hairs out because his lineups and distribution of minutes made absolutely no sense.
Also, it didn’t seem like Casey had “control” of his team at all. Granted, we had a few bad apples back then, but he was far too passive and timid to be the leader of our team at that time. Now, it could have been simply that these things were factors of Casey being a rookie head coach. I don’t know.
Perhaps he has gotten better the past two years as a bench coach for the Dallas Mavericks. For his sake I hope that he has learned a thing or two.
(S4G): Why did Minnesota decide to give him the team that year? Was it another “Randy Ayers case” (=lack of better options) or what?
(CW): I am not entirely sure. Glen Taylor and McHale were doing their best to “win now”, and I think they viewed Dwane Casey as a hot-shot up and coming assistant coach, in the same mold as someone like Nate McMillan.
It’s not that they had a lack of better options, because they went out and actively recruited Casey. It was just a complete swing and a miss, because it was obvious that Casey was in way too far over his head. At the time, I had thought he was one of the worst coaches I’d ever seen. Little did I know what to expect from the Randy (Dim)Wittman era…
(S4G): Which were Casey’s strengths as a coach, and what was he missing?
(CW): I honestly cannot remember any “strengths” besides the fact that he was a nice guy. Also, I think he did a decent job getting our players to play defense during his 20-20 second season, although the stats might say otherwise (I didn’t check).
He was missing everything. Namely: experience, presentation, advanced game knowledge/strategy, good assistants, and good players.
(S4G): Can being fired by Kevin Mc Hale be considered a plus in a coach’s resume?
(CW): No comment :-)
(S4G): Would you recommend the Sixers to give the helm to Casey? Why? Any other team where he would be a good fit?
(CW): No, I would not recommend him being the new head coach of your team. He just doesn’t strike me as a guy that will ever be a truly successful NBA *head coach.* I think his ideal position is that of an assistant coach for a veteran contending team. Those players would be much more likely to listen to him and his ideals, rather than a rebuilding team full of youngsters.
I realize that the Sixers are a veteran, contending (hopefully) team, but I wouldn’t want you guys to waste your championship window because a coach like Casey was hired. I think you guys could do much better.
I don’t think he would be a good fit as a head coach anywhere in the NBA. As an assistant coach, yes. You could probably do worse with the plethora of no-name assistants that have been floating around the league for years.
Thank you for enlightening us, Dave…
Conclusion: please say “NO” to Dwane Casey !!