Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ball Don't Lie: Dwyer: The Atlanta Hawks need to hire Dwane Casey

Kelly Dwyer makes the case for Dwane Casey:
That 20-20 record. That's what everyone remembers.

OK, that's what most people remember. That's what some people remember. That's what I remember, at least.

I remember that Dwane Casey is not just another retread. That he can actually coach. And that if the Atlanta Hawks make him their next sideline stalker, general manager Rick Sund may have found an answer for the blasé attitude that permeated the Hawk locker room more times than not during Mike Woodson's tenure.

That 20-20 is Casey's record over the first 40 games of the 2006-07 season, a 40-game stint that saw Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor overestimate the amount of talent GM Kevin McHale had put together before firing Casey and asking assistant Randy Wittman (now there's a retread) to take over for the final 41. Working with the same group of Timberwolves, Wittman went 12-30.

That 20-20 record stands out as one of the more telling marks in Timberwolves history — the team that refused to rebuild after the win-now boys of 2003-04 fell apart, the team that hung onto Kevin Garnett(notes) for too long, and the team that decided that a cadre of crappy hybrid guards (seriously, look at this roster) was the future. Somehow, a rotation featuring Mike James(notes), Randy Foye(notes), Rashad McCants(notes), Troy Hudson(notes) and Marko Jaric(notes) all battling for time to bring the ball up and launch an iffy jumper just didn't work for Wittman.

It worked for Casey, as he put the Wolves in the playoff hunt midway through the season with a lineup built around Kevin Garnett that should have been in the Greg Oden(notes) hunt. The Kentucky product and one-time-understudy-to-many had the Wolves overachieving, and working hard on both ends. And for Taylor, it wasn't enough. It should have been.
As for the coaching search in general, I recommend patience. Remember June 12th. It was on that date in 2008 that the Hawks offered Mike Woodson his second contract.

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