On May 11th 2018 the Toronto Raptors dismissed who was undoubtedly the franchises greatest ever coach. Dwane Casey will not be pacing the sidelines of the ACC for the 2018-2019 season. Rather, the Toronto Raptors look to replace the soon to be considered Raptors legend (320W – 238L) with someone new, someone inspired, and hopefully someone who can lead them to better playoff success.
There are a number of candidates available and we’ll be looking into some possibilities on the safe, speculative, and possibly wild side of the Raptors coaching spectrum.
Mike Budenholzer (Last with: Atlanta Hawks)
UPDATE: HIRED BY MILWAUKEE
- Bud is the most likely candidate for the open head coaching position. Not only a graduate of the Spurs school of egalitarian offences, he previously led the the 2015 Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference title. There are similarities in how the Raps look to run their team and how Bud has done it in the past. Ujiri would hope Coach Bud could take the same system that made four average Atlanta Hawks players into all-stars to a Toronto team with significantly more talent, depth, and potential.
- Unfortunately, the Toronto Raptors have a capped out team and have to compete with more interesting roster make-ups like the Milwaukee Bucks for Buds signature.
Nick Nurse (Current: Toronto Raptors Assistant)
- Nick Nurse has been on the NBA coaching radar for some time now. A former two-time NBA G-League champion coach with a penchant for developing and maximizing young talent. The apparent architect behind the Raptors new offensive scheme, Nurse would look to maintain some continuity with the Toronto Raptors with Casey’s departure. But, would said continuity truly inspire greater success?
- The unfortunate fact is without Nurse or even Kalamian being promoted to the head coaching position, it’s very likely both would pursue greener pastures.
Ettore Messina (Current: San Antonio Spurs Assistant)
- Speaking of SpursU and the NBA Coaching radar, Messina is a prospect that has been on NBA Front Office menus for a long time. A 4x EuroLeague and Italian League Champion, Messina took the role of student to all-time great Gregg Popovich after the pursuit of nearly every NBA team for the past ten years. There’s nothing about his resume that doesn’t suggest he would be a valuable head coach in the NBA.
- Messina is one of the most worldly coaches available today. With success in Europe and America, teams salivate at the opportunity to have him on both the coaching staff and scouting team. Could the diversity of Toronto entice him?
Jerry Stackhouse (Current: Raptors 905 Head Coach)
- The 2017 G-League Coach of the Year, has done quite a bit in his short time to adore himself to Raptors fans and beg curiosity from front offices. With the shortest amount of coaching experience on this list, Stackhouse has been an assistant with the Raptors and led the Raptors 905 to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances with one championship. The NBA loves having big names transition from playing to coaching. Stackhouse’s grind has led him to interviews from the Knicks and Hornets already.
- Hiring Stack would fit the Raptors mould of developing from within and would be an awesome success story for the former NBA journeyman All-Star. Realistically, the hiring of Stackhouse would mean the departure of Nurse and Kalamian, a chance the Raptors may not be willing to take.
Becky Hammon (Current: San Antonio Spurs Assistant)
- “Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball period” said NBA great Pau Gasol. If anything, it’s an understatement. Hammon has broken boundaries in the sports world, won the Summer League Championship with the Spurs, and gained the respect of coaches and executives across the NBA. She is one of the most decorated WNBA players of all-time and is primed for a greater coaching role than she currently has. SpursU just knows what they’re doing.
- It’d be foolish to not consider the media storm that will surely come with the hiring of Hammon at any organization. She will be under more scrutiny than any previous NBA coach ever. Does that mean she doesn’t deserve a job? No. Does it mean front offices are considering the media tornado to come with her hiring? Yes.
Stan Van Gundy (Last with: Detroit Pistons)
- Van Gundy gets a lot of flack for his career despite having a .577 win total and having reached the NBA Finals in 2009. He ran one of the most successful PnR offences in 2009 and turned Dwight Howard into a star. Recent seasons suggest his style isn’t successful in the modern NBA, though you could say a core group of Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, and Andre Drummond won’t win you much success anyway.
- The biggest source of scrutiny was Van Gundy’s role as President of Basketball Operations with Detroit. With that role securely in Ujiri’s lap, Van Gundy can do more to focus on the on-court issues.
This would be Interesting
Jeff Van Gundy (Last with: USA FIBA Americup)
- It was a bit of a surprise when Jeff Van Gundy was named Head Coach of the USA’s FIBA Americup team in 2017. It seemed a safe enough bet, coach a group of young guys with no real expectations. But he did well with team of relative unknowns against, frankly, the best of the Americas. Oh, he hasn’t coached since 2007 but has posted only one losing season in his 11-year coaching career.
Jason Kidd (Last with: Milwaukee Bucks)
- He’s an odd one. His defence-oriented Bucks were horrible at defending. He consistently blamed failures on youth when 4/5 of his starting line-up were over 25. He also did that cup thing. Yeah, best not to consider this guy.