Hawks to talk to Casey

The AJC’s Mark Bradley reports that the Hawks have been granted permission to speak with Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey.

Casey, the former head coach for Minnesota Timberwolves, is one of several candidates for the New Orleans Hornets’ head coaching position. Minnesota hired Casey before the 2005-06 season but fired him in Jan. 2007 despite Minnesota’s 20-20 record, which had the Timberwolves in contention for the No. 8 playoff seed in the Western Conference.

The Hawks say they won’t comment on their coaching search but so so far the team appears to be focused on assistant coaches as candidates. GM Rick Sund said Mike Woodson’s former assistants are under contract until June 30 but that he wouldn’t prevent them from seeking other jobs in the interim. That statement and Sund’s desire for a different voice to lead the Hawks both suggest Larry Drew, Woodson’s lead assistant, isn’t high on the initial candidate list.

MC

167 comments Add your comment

chalkdawg4

May 16th, 2010
6:22 pm

Jody

May 16th, 2010
6:22 pm

Interesting. Let’s see what comes of this.

chalkdawg4

May 16th, 2010
6:22 pm

He seems like the best choice overall to me.

Navigator

May 16th, 2010
6:22 pm

Hopefully the Hawks will go after either a highly rated top assistant of at least a head coach that has had success in the playoffs in the past. 20-20, under that scenario, they rehire MWoodson.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 16th, 2010
6:31 pm

There’s nothing about Casey that seems like he’s a bad coach, but on the flip side, the whole reason for (justifiably) firing Woodson was because 50 wins and embarrassing 2nd-round playoff exits are not considered satisfactory. Like Jeff Schultz said, the DASG is trying to “raise the bar”. What exactly in Casey’s track record suggests he can do that?

Somehow Casey gives me the feeling that he is going to lead this team to… 50 wins and a 2nd round playoff exit. I don’t see him taking this team any further than Woody. I hope the Hawks use this opportunity to hire a coach that might actually be great instead of a coach who is just going to be good enough to get the Hawks into the playoffs.

Maybe I’m wrong. If anyone can show that Casey — unlike Woodson — is actually a good X’s and O’s guy who can implement intelligent offensive schemes, take advantage of his personnel, and not play favorites in the locker room, feel free to set me straight.

St. Bernard

May 16th, 2010
6:34 pm

If he has any offensive playbook at all, he’s head and shoulders above Woodson.

ant banks

May 16th, 2010
6:46 pm

as long as the guy doesn’t have a predisposition to not playin’ rookies for no reason, SIGN HIM UP. also, i am glad that larry drew is not bein’ considered either. he won’t say anythin’ different than woody did.

darrell starks

May 16th, 2010
6:47 pm

Wow are you telling me that ASG trying go cheap again if so i will not renew my tickets, if thats the case they should have kept woody try again michael cunningham.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

May 16th, 2010
6:52 pm

This will be the most important off season in the history of this franchise, because people was starting come back slowly and support this team.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

May 16th, 2010
6:53 pm

“If he has any offensive playbook at all, he’s head and shoulders above Woodson.”

Here’s my question though: are the Hawks trying to just hire someone better than Woodson, or are they trying to hire a guy who can lead them to a title?

Like you point out, a lot of people can qualify as being better than Woodson; Casey is more than likely one of them. But if the Hawks are not shooting to be elite, then what’s the point? Casey just seems “good”. He doesn’t seem “elite” to me.

Grandad

May 16th, 2010
7:06 pm

I do not think hiring an asst coach means they are
hiring on the cheap. Esecially if they get,
[and this is important], the right one. After today,
the way the Celtics handled the Magic, I am assured
that Tom Thibodeau is as good if not better than some
so called name coaches. How many pts. did Orl. score
today ??? [88] I believe that would be 19 below the
avg. they put up on the Hawks. [T.T. Def.Coordinator]
Oh well, if he hires Casey, he may have been Sund’s
choice from the beginning since they were colleagues
in Seattle. ‘Passing thoughts’.

Ramon

May 16th, 2010
7:15 pm

Najeh, I understand your point about Casey not seeming elite. But remember it was only 4-5 years ago, Van Gundy was merely an ok assistant coach. Or it was only 8-9 years ago Rivers was merely an ok TV analyst.

northcyde

May 16th, 2010
7:51 pm

Seriously . . . if we’re just going to bring in an assistant or a journeyman coach, why even get excited about a coaching change? Avery Johnson and Byron Scott are at least 2 coaches that can say that they’ve gotten a team to an NBA Final, yet, there’s not even a peep of their names being mentioned.

But people think anything is better than Woody. I hope they’re right. I just hope that if we keep this team intact, that the bar isn’t lowered for the new coach.

Tom

May 16th, 2010
7:53 pm

elite coaches are few and far between and currently have jobs in elite clubs. Next handful of elite coaches will have to be discovered.

i_am_soulstar

May 16th, 2010
8:05 pm

As much as I love the Hawks, there are so many things that need to go right in order for this team to have a shot at improvement next season if JJ leaves:

1) If we lose JJ, we’d have to use him in a sign-and-trade for a good-to-great combo (Devin Harris and Brook Lopez; O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol). I can assure you his consistency and dependable 20-5-5 stat line during the regular season will be missed.

2) Teague will have to play some good basketball at the point guard position (which I believe he’s certainly capable of, given the opportunity), and Bibby will have to accept his role as expensive back-up point guard, or be traded for another less-expensive back-up point guard

3) A defense-first coach will have to earn the respect of the players, have good offensive schemes, be willing to learn and correct flaws (not stubborn like Woody), and know how to make in-game adjustments, rather than standing pat until the current scheme works

4) Sund will need to spend wisely on players (undervalued players that play hard, under-appreciated stars, or good role players on lousy teams)

5) Marvin has to average at least 15ppg, 7rpg

6) We’ll need a serviceable defensive-minded starting 2 guard that can average at least 15ppg if we can’t acquire one thru sign-and-trade should JJ leave.

7) We’ll need Josh Childress to come in and back up Marvin WIlliams or possibly supplant him at the small forward position if Marvin doesn’t get it together, OR use Josh Childress for a sign-and-trade if he wants to leave as his value is likely higher these days

I could go on.. but the basic point is that regardless of who Sund hires, I think a very large amount of things will need to fall in place in order for the Hawks to be better next season without JJ.

I’d be happy if 2-3 of these things would happen.

i_am_soulstar

May 16th, 2010
8:07 pm

Oh, and as inferred in the previous post, Crawford CANNOT START. I am a Crawford fan, but his defense will not allow this team pass the 1st round.

lewis

May 16th, 2010
8:10 pm

so that means Bibby will run the point for the bench unit that includes Jamal, and we’ll again have 2 guards who can’t play defense on the court at the same time?

Myrak43

May 16th, 2010
8:25 pm

we won’t be about to get both Devin Harris and Brook Lopez or Mayo and Marc Gasol for JJ. Maybe Devin Harris and Tony Battie or Harris and Yi Jianlian form the nets or JJ for rudy gay, Thabeet, and brewer. I would take anyone of those trades.

new lineup

Harris/teaque Teague/bibby
Crawford/FA Crawford/Brewer
Williams/Evans or Rudy/Williams
Smoove/ Yi Horford/Smoove(new six man)
Hordford/ ZaZa Thabeet/Horford-ZAZA

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:28 pm

Northcyde ,

My friend, that is a false hope.

I hate to be blunt about it, but I’ve learned a while back that chasing your fellow fans (and even the ones masquerading as fans) can only be for the sake of entertainment and in some cases, actual camaraderie. Beyond that, asking that a large and extremely diverse group of people all be reasonable, rational, and sensible about a sport or any of the involved mechanical details therein is foolhardy on a good day.

Yes, people WILL ask for change, merely for the sake of change. Ever hear of the Presedential Election? You hear the same thing from people every four years. Not that you didn’t know any of this beforehand, mind you.

I just figured I’d lay it out there anyway. ;)

Myrak43

May 16th, 2010
8:29 pm

Maybe Devin Harris and Tony Battie or Harris and Yi Jianlian form the nets or JJ for rudy gay, Thabeet, and brewer. I would take anyone of those trades.

new lineup

Harris/teaque
Crawford/FA
Williams/Evans
Smoove/ Yi
Hordford/ ZaZa

OR

Teague/bibby
Crawford/Brewer
Rudy/Williams
Horford/Smoove(new six man)
Thabeet/Horford-ZAZA

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:30 pm

Grandad ,

My thoughts, however primitive, were as such when Sund was hired:

“All GMs want to remake things in their own mold when they take over a team. Nothing to do but see what THIS one does.”

i_am_soulstar

May 16th, 2010
8:35 pm

Lewis,

Good point, but since we’re probably stuck with Bibby, would you rather he try to guard the opposing team’s starting 1 guard??? That didn’t work so well for us in the playoffs, or during the season for that matter, and was the major reason for the switching defense which almost doomed us in the 1st round this year. If Bibby’s playing reduced minutes as an offensive spark, then his defensive liabilities will have less of an impact. Unless you could foresee any possible trade scenarios involving Bibby than any sane GM would go for, and that wouldn’t be detrimental to the Hawks.

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:36 pm

Najeh ,

Wish we could get the answer to that question, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

I would hope the idea is to get a coach who can do the most with, and is actually a fit for the group of players you decide to roll with. I think the “core” that was supposedly established a year or so ago cannot be the same.

First, JJ may or may not stay.

Second, Josh is our best trade chip right now (or at least the one that tends to make the most sense when talking money concerns vs. value vs. return vs. what you have to make up for), but he’s quite valuable to this team.

Third, I cannot in good conscience think of Marvin Williams as a core player any longer. Maybe I’m wrong and he’ll become relevant under a different coach. I’m not holding my breath.

Fourth, Bibby is now a backup, and really has been most of the past season.

Fifth, Zaza is an option. We simply cannot cut it as him being the only or even main backup big man anymore.

Sund has GOT to mess with this roster some, but he has also GOT to get a coach who can do more with it than Woodson did. And it would be silly to assume that simply a different coach would automatically mean championship contender with the same roster.

No way, no how.

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:39 pm

i am soulstar ,

Agreed on both Bibby and Crawford. Not sure Childress would come back here. Money talks…

Blast

May 16th, 2010
8:39 pm

So how come the Magic were unable to drop a 40 point beatdown on a Celtics team that Hawks swept in the season?

Even better, why did Hawks only go 1-3 vs a Cleveland team that Celtics beat so handilly? Old and all? After getting swept by Hawks in the season?

Some would say health, but I would say great coaching by Doc. Remember, this was on the road, too! Where Hawks could never seem to win.

Bye, bye, Woody!

And go, Celtics!

Mystikal

May 16th, 2010
8:57 pm

I get it, aside form luring Phil Jackson or Pat Riley, no one is going to take the hawks to the top next year. So in the short term, the hawks may take a little step back before they can proceed higher. For all the good Woody has done, he has lost his team so he can’t take them any further. Any new coach brought in is going to have to become familiar with the players and implement his system, so there may be some growing pains. Of available coaches, I think Byron Scott would be the best candidate and to lesser degree Avery Johnson. For what ever reason these guys are commanding a lot of many even though neither has coached in 3 years. Which brings us to the next tier of Larry Drew and Dwayne Casey, who I think would be interesting. As always we just have to hope Sund rolls the dice correctly.

dap01

May 16th, 2010
9:00 pm

MC: What are Casey’s strenghts? What kind of coach is he? What type of offense does he prefer? Defense?

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
9:13 pm

Mystikal ,

That’s one thing people will have to get over. Growing pains.

i_am_soulstar

May 16th, 2010
9:15 pm

Ray,

Since Chills is now an RFA after being extended the QO, you don’t think Sund’ll match any offers for Chills if he decides to come back to the states? Or is this one more thing that depends on JJ’s leaving or staying?

RCinATL

May 16th, 2010
9:23 pm

Before everyone gets ready to leap from the top of Phillips Arena over this interview, remember…

…Mike Smith was a no-name choice as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. (In his first two seasons, he led the Falcons from, what 3-13, to their first two back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history).

…Thomas Dimitroff was hired after another snub by Bill Parcells. (From all accounts, the guy really knows how to run an organization. Certainly knows how to hire a coach (see above) and it’s hard to argue with many of his personnel moves (drafting Matt Ryan, signing Turner the Burner, trading for Tony Gonzales, etc.).

Just because a person is not a known commodity doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t going to be a great coach or leader. Would I love to see Avery Johnson here, ABSOLUTELY! Byron Scott would be fantastic too. And just maybe there might be a flirtation with them in the near future as well.

But, I want to give Sund a chance to go after his guy and see what happens. Besides, unless the Hawks make some important personnel decisions this off season, it really isn’t going to matter who they hire.

This team, as constituted, has reached its peak…in my humble opinion.

Q

May 16th, 2010
9:31 pm

WE WANT AVERY JOHNSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Samuel

May 16th, 2010
9:35 pm

I don’t have a problem with the Hawks talking to Casey. But I think they should look at Avery Johnson and other coaches and excoaches around the league. But maybe he’s trying to lure Dirk out of Dallas with this selection. Keep in mind that in order for the hawks to really Improve they will need at least one Superstar on the roster.

Sautee

May 16th, 2010
9:49 pm

northcyde,

You said this: “Seriously . . . if we’re just going to bring in an assistant or a journeyman coach, why even get excited about a coaching change?”

Do you think Bulls fans were excited in 1989 when THEY promoted an assistant coach named Phil Jackson?

How about Laker fans in ‘81 when THEY promoted their former radio analyst and then assistant coach Pat Riley to guide the team after it nearly imploded under Paul Westhead? Remember THAT P.R. debacle? Do you think Laker fans were excited at that moment?

Worked out OK for those teams, eh?

Dan's Dickau

May 16th, 2010
9:50 pm

If ya’ll want more of that “dear in the headlights” action in the playoffs, Avery Johnson is your man. Didn’t you guys see that Golden State series a few years ago when he straight wet the bed? Zero ability to make adjustments. Johnson would hardly be a step up from Woodson.

TruthSeeker

May 16th, 2010
10:03 pm

I hope Casey isn’t the Hawks’ first choice. I don’t dislike him, but there are other guys I like a lot better, namely Avery Johnson and Bryon Scott. If you strike out with those guys, then Casey is a decent fallback option. But a team a perennial-playoff team like the Hawks needs to set their sights higher than a guy with a 53-69 record. I don’t care if it was in Minnesota, the guy still has not proven he can win yet.

UGA

May 16th, 2010
10:04 pm

Well, alot of trade talk will happen after the Draft Lottery. The NY Post and other articles seem to suggest the Hawks want to add to this team. I would like to see if Teague can handle things and Bibby be the back up, if not then a Bibby trade seems smart. I’d like to see how Smith does under a new coach also.

If Joe resigns, I hope we can free up some money to sign the following:

Keep Joe- who else can we sign that could hit a big shot
Jermaine O’Neal- he defends Howard well
Josh Childress- fits well with the team and chemistry
Damien Wilkins- good guy to sign at the league minimum
Etan Thomas or Kurt Thomas- good tough veteran guy

This team is not going to be able to supplant a LeBron or Howard, but staying at the top is important. These moves won’t get us to the finals, but the wrong move could put us into the lottery.

UGA

May 16th, 2010
10:06 pm

If you look at Casey’s roster he had in Minnesota, you would see why his record was poor. It’s hard to win with Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Trenton Hassell and Mike James as 4 of your starters……

Geemack

May 16th, 2010
10:06 pm

Myrak43

Why would JJ approve a sign and trade to the Nets? When he could take 12 to 15 mil and go play with D-wade, and have a chance to play for a title.

Sautee

May 16th, 2010
10:06 pm

Sund likely felt he owed Casey an interview from their previous time together.

I certainly hope he doesn’t have blinders on. Then again, if Casey is perfect for Sund’s vision of this team, ok.

BILLY KNIGHT

May 16th, 2010
10:07 pm

I have always like avery johnson the guy is a strong minded coach with and absolutely astonish record of 195wins 70lost you can’t go wrong with that but the biggest Q is ASG trying go cheap or are they trying be winners time will tell this off. season.

BILLY KNIGHT

May 16th, 2010
10:08 pm

REMEMBER AVERY RECORD 195WINS 70 LOST.

Geemack

May 16th, 2010
10:15 pm

Blast

Woody had his faults, which are well documented and very obvious. However the Hawks biggest problem is they don’t have any on court leadership. Every great team has a player on the floor that execute the coaches game plan.

Also the Hawks lack heart.

Geemack

May 16th, 2010
10:18 pm

BILLY KNIGHT

Also the team he coach blew a 2 to 1 finals lead, and he had the better team. Also his team was upset by a number 8 seed when he was the number 1 seed. At least Woody was losing to better seeds.

newkid

May 16th, 2010
10:22 pm

Casey hype could be a smokescreen. If it’s really Van Gundy, or Scott, or the Celtics’ assistant, or someone else in mind, why tip your hand to the many suitors of head coaching talent? Instead send the signal that you’ve just got to have Casey, and hopefully the Sixers act precipitously with an offer. If so, you’ve got one less player in the game. Of course if this is Sund’s idea of poker face, let’s keep up the hysterics; it’s gotta help.

Geemack

May 16th, 2010
10:23 pm

Enter your comments here

O'Brien

May 16th, 2010
10:24 pm

Casey was an assistant under nate McMillan for 5 seasons. And if I’m not mistaken, nate runs a lot of ISO Brandon Roy’s. I just hope Casey has learned what works and what doesn’t while working under McMillan and rick Carlisle.

Another positive is maybe Casey learned from his previous mistakes when he was Minnesota’s head coach.

Northcyde, Samuel

Regardless of who sund hires, our roster is still flawed, so he will have to make some changes in player personnel too.

U dont want Bryon scott

May 16th, 2010
10:25 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

May 16th, 2010
10:26 pm

“Mike Smith was a no-name choice as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. (In his first two seasons, he led the Falcons from, what 3-13, to their first two back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history).”

Here’s the big difference between football and basketball though. In Mike Smith’s case, you could see his track record reflected in the ranking of the defenses over which he presided as the coordinator. As Jacksonville’s coordinator, he elevated that defense into the top 10 in the NFL. As Baltimore’s coordinator, he did the same. It wasn’t too hard to tell from that evidence that he was probably a capable coach. On the other hand, you could look at the NFL track records of coaches like Jim Mora and Bobby Petrino and see that the units over which they presided as coordinators finished with mediocre rankings, and conclude that they probably wouldn’t be great coaches.

That’s not a foolproof system by any means, but it’s a lot more than we as fans have to work with when it comes to basketball. In the NBA, especially when it comes to assistant coaches, roles are not so cut and dried. Generally, teams do not have specialized offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, big man coordinators, point guard coordinators, etc. in basketball like there are position coaches and coordinators in football; even if they do, they are not advertised as such. Bottom line is, we can’t look at the Mavs this year and ascribe one aspect of their team directly to Casey based on what we know. So it’s much harder for us fans to look at the track record of someone like Casey and decide whether or not he is a capable coach.

Look at Mike Woodson for example. He was touted as a defense-first coach — he even advertised himself as such during his time here — and he was coming from a team that defeated a team with 4 Hall-of-Famers in the Finals largely due to smothering defense. What was there not to like? But just looking at that, there was no way for us to know how offensively challenged, how unwilling to make adjustments, and how unwilling to develop young point guards he would be.

Some people bring up Casey’s head coaching record of 53-69, but to me he gets an incomplete for that. There’s no way to tell, with that talent deficient roster McHale provided him, whether he underachieved, overachieved, or got what was expected out of that team.

Or Avery "Control Freak" Johnson

May 16th, 2010
10:28 pm

http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2010/5/15/1473504/hawks-coaching-search-whos-next

Gotta get an Alvin Gentry like person.

Personally, I think “Thunder” Dan Merjle (PHX Assistant) should be given a SERIOUS look.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 16th, 2010
10:29 pm

“Casey was an assistant under nate McMillan for 5 seasons. And if I’m not mistaken, nate runs a lot of ISO Brandon Roy’s. I just hope Casey has learned what works and what doesn’t while working under McMillan and rick Carlisle.”

And the Mavs are primarily an isolation team too. More often than not, at least from what I’ve seen of them the last couple of years, their offense is Iso-Dirk.