DALLAS -- When Dwane Casey was last an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, he was dubbed the team's defensive coordinator when they captured the 2011 NBA title.
Shortly after that, Casey became the new head coach of the Toronto Raptors. And now the Raptors are best known for being bulldogs on defense -- thanks in large part to Casey's valuable influence.
"He’s had a massive impact on their defense,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "When he went there they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and they’ve made the greatest gains defensively over that period of time of any team in the league.
"It was a total culture change, a needed culture change. They’ve done it.''
And how in particular did the Raptors turn up the defensive juices? Through shrewd trades, crafty draft picks and several teachings from Casey, whose team is 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed at 98.6 per game.
"Now they’ve got a roster of energetic, athletic, hard-playing, tough, young players,'' Carlisle said. "They’ve got a team similar to Memphis in that they really go after the ball, they rip at it, they’re slashers, they’re very fast and dynamic.
"He’s done a great job with it. He's done a great job there.''
-- Dwain Price