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DBB on 3: Discussing Dwane Casey’s contract extension

The Pistons extended head coach Dwane Casey’s deal. What does that mean going forward?

Denver Nuggets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Dwane Casey coached the Detroit Pistons to a much-needed loss on Friday against the Denver Nuggets, his first since signing a contract extension that will keep him on the sidelines at Little Caesars Arena through the 2023-24 season. We looked at the ramifications of the deal and what it means going forward for the rebuilding Pistons.

1. What are your initial thoughts on extending Casey’s contract a year?

Lazarus Jackson: It makes sense — normally coaches of a team as bad as the Pistons are (and will be?? Pending the lottery and offseason?) desire a little more security. The first person to go when people start looking around to assign blame about the losing is the coach. Can’t fire the players, can’t fire the owner, and the front office ain’t gonna fire itself. This gives Dwane a little more security to see the losing through — and, if you’re inferring things from the way it’s been reported, it perhaps gives Dwane a chance to do a little more winning in Detroit as well.

Brady Fredericksen: I’m good with this. The Pistons are still a ways away from playing games of consequence in the playoffs... and we all know that wasn’t Casey’s strong suit in Toronto. It also keeps him from the dreaded lame-duck status next season. He’s been a good soldier for the organization and seems to genuinely want to shepherd this rebuild. He doesn’t deserve to be in a lame-duck situation.

Ben Gulker: A single year is the only thing that surprises me. Why one year, instead of two or three years?

Justin Lambregetse: I’m fine with it. I’ve had a few issues with Casey’s rotations at times, but you can’t argue with the fact that players are developing under him. When you have committed to a rebuild as a franchise, you want a coach around that can develop players and there isn’t much of a point in trying to find a new coach while rebuilding unless they are doing an absolutely awful job.

ScottFL: He has done a good job, and I am happy to see him thusly rewarded.

enbiejowiec: Initial thought: why only a year. Afterthought: ok, I get it; in this way it works just fine both for him and the franchise.

2. What grade would you give Casey’s coaching performance this season?

Lazarus Jackson: I’d give him a B. He’s been a steadying presence around a really bad, fairly young team. He’s gotten the team to really sit down and defend, which is atypical of young teams (but not of Dwane Casey teams). His philosophy of making guys “earn” their playing time has been frustrating as an observer, but it’s clearly enunciated and adhered to (there’s a reason Saddiq was the first rookie to get real rotation minutes), so I give him credit for that. I still feel like there’s some offensive creativity lacking, though.

Brady Fredericksen: B. His reliance on the veterans at different times this season was annoying, but I get it. In the end, the Pistons should finish with a bottom-three record while doing it with a young core that grew over the course of the year. Mission accomplished.

Ben Gulker: I often question his rotations, but it’s impossible to argue with the progression of the kids. And he’s managed the transition from pushing for the playoffs to full-on rebuild like a true professional. I give him an A for that.

Justin Lambregetse: I’d say like a B. There were times where he was a bit too reliant on veterans, but you are also seeing a lot of progress from young guys which you have to think have been helped by the veterans. I think I’ve liked Casey better during the rebuild than when the team was “fighting” for the playoffs. He really does a great job with young players.

ScottFL: A+ for balancing tanking with good vibes.

enbiejowiec: Since it was a ‘developmental’ year, I say: A- (unless in the last two games they’re going to do something to undermine their lottery odds).

3. Why is Casey the right guy to have around? Do you think he will be on the sidelines as Detroit’s head coach the next time they play in a playoff game?

Lazarus Jackson: I mentioned the steadying presence. He’s a guy NBA players clearly listen to, which is half the battle with an NBA team, and maybe more of the battle with the young guys. If vets don’t respect the coach, the young guys pick up on that, then they don’t listen, that probably hinders development (or facilitates development of undesirable habits). Again, the NBA is a business and a workplace, and anyone who has worked under a bad manager will tell you the harm working under a bad manager does for your career and your life. As for the second question, if he coaches the rest of the three years on his deal, there’s a good chance he is on the sidelines when Detroit is in the playoffs.

Brady Fredericksen: He’s the right guy for right now. Casey has the professionalism you want in a coach and he’s proven to be adept at developing these young players. They have a long way to go, but they’ve made tangible improvements this season despite not having a proper offseason and summer league to truly get acclimated. I’d venture to guess that having a veteran coach like Casey helped a lot there. Think about it: he’s the Pistons’ best head coach from a player development standpoint since Flip Saunders or Larry Brown. I can see the Pistons — especially with Cade Cunningham — returning to the playoffs in the next 2-3 years, especially if the play-in tournament sticks around. So, yes, he’ll be here.

Ben Gulker: Without an additional extension, I don’t see him coaching in the playoffs, but I don’t see that as his fault. They’re still a long way away from being good. From a player development and character perspective, Casey has been very good, and that’s vital to a successful rebuild.

Justin Lambregetse: He does a great job developing players, which is what you want in a rebuild. He’s also a good guy that players like. I think it ultimately depends on how quick this rebuild is. I think this is Dwane Casey’s last contract and he will probably be done coaching once his extension is up. There is a world where the Pistons are a playoff team by the end of the contract.

ScottFL: He’s the right guy to have around because of gravitas and accountability and all of those types of things that are beneficial for young players learning how to be professionals. I would expect a playoff appearance in 2024, if not sooner, regardless of what I might prefer in terms of extensive future tanking if our Pistons don’t win the Cade lottery. So, if he is still the head coach at the end of this newly-extended contract then, yes, I would expect that timeline to include a playoff appearance, and maybe even two.

enbiejowiec: I’d love to have Dwane Casey at the sidelines next time Detroit plays in a playoff game. He showed to be very creative both with a roster centered on Blake Griffin and with one centered on Jerami Grant and the younglings. The motion offense looks great… mostly. So does the drop coverage and three-point defense. The youngsters are developing great. All players give their best. Nevertheless, the truth is DC — as well as Troy Weaver, the kids and the vets — still have the biggest job yet to do to change the fortunes of the franchise.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments:

1. What are your initial thoughts on extending Casey’s contract a year?

2. What grade would you give Casey’s coaching performance this season?

3. Why is Casey the right guy to have around? Do you think he will be on the sidelines as Detroit’s head coach the next time they play in a playoff game?