Dwane Casey Got a Raw Deal

Everyone seems to think so. At least, everyone in Seattle, where he used to work and this is less complicated.

For instance, the Sonics' play-by-play guy, David Locke, writes:

In the off-season, the Timberwolves brought in Randy Wittman to assist with the game coaching. What they really did was fire Casey that day, because for Casey to be fired with the Wolves in the playoffs if the season ended today, with the roster they have, tells me he never had a chance.

Minnesota is currently eighth in the West. With that roster, what is the maximum potential for the Wolves? They are not in the same class as the Big Three - Phoenix, Dallas or San Antonio. They are not in the next tier of Denver, Utah, Houston and the Lakers. I must ask Kevin McHale and the Wolves this: What do they really think they could have achieved?

Some people are citing the inconsistency of the Wolves as an explanation for this move. Look at who is on the roster. Other than KG, there isn’t player whose line can be penciled in every night with confidence. This league is about rosters and knowing exactly what you are getting out of guys each night. Teams at .500 are loaded with players like Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Mike James, etc. who give you a big night one night and a dud the next. I must ask Kevin McHale - how many of the players he added to the roster ever won in their previous city?

Firing a coach a year and half into his tenure amazes me. I must ask Kevin McHale, who is at the top of the Northwest Division? Shouldn’t franchises learn there is some value in consistency?

Casey is one of the best people I have known in this business. He works diligently at his task and has a vision for what he believes and how he believes basketball should be played. He is tireless. He is high quality.

Mike Seely of Seattle Weekly echoes the sentiment on his Buzzer Beater blog:

Casey actually had the 20-20 Wolves overachieving this year, in my view, helming a rotation of Kevin Garnett and a bunch of whiny and/or green underachievers. Those who remember Casey from his Seattle days will recall an intense brother who did more in-game coaching on the sideline than Nate McMillan. The Supes should not wait until the off-season to hire him to replace Bob Hill. Do it now, right in time for him to coach against his former employer Friday (btw, is Kevin McHale not the white, less outspoken version of Isaiah Thomas? Great player, horrible GM). He's exactly the shot in the arm this loafing defensive squad needs to keep the Key electric for games when Iverson and Carmelo aren't in the house.

In Minnesota, Dan Berreiro writes:

McHale won't acknowledge all the blown No. 1 draft choices, the flawed, unbalanced roster, the stupid obsession with every player who belongs to his buddy Bill Duffy, and the flat-out laziness. He won't remind folks what he said about Casey when the Wolves hired him: "We were really committed to going out there and getting what we felt was the right man for the job, and we feel we have. We wanted to hire the right man, and Dwane Casey's the right man for the job."

Remember: It was Taylor and McHale who chose the less battle-tested Casey over other candidates, including the more seasoned detail guy and former head coach, P.J. Carlesimo, who had also grown as a member of the championship Spurs coaching staff. And now it is being suggested the Wolves see in Wittman more of a _ you guessed it _ detail guy.

With or without Casey, who among the seven Western Conference teams ahead of them _ Mavericks, Suns, Spurs, Lakers, Jazz, Rockets and Nuggets _ are the Wolves supposed to be better than? And even if he believed that he had seen enough of Casey to conclude he was not the guy, McHale won't have the guts to volunteer, at a minimum, "It is my job to evaluate the coach. I didn't like what I saw. But he was hired on our watch. And these are my players. I also have to take a large amount of responsibility for the position that this team is in.''

Instead, at the hastily arranged news conference McHale offered more of that farcical Hibbing-folksy swill that he has been slinging for years. It's cute, and it plays well to the parochial, but it doesn't address the essential questions: Why is your job not in jeopardy? Who is evaluating the evaluator? Why do you deserve more time to fix it?

I Heart KG has a bunch more links. And here.