On Thursday night the Toronto Raptors will gather at the ACC and celebrate “Fanapolooza”. Tonnes of giveaways and prizes will be handed out to fans to celebrate the year that has been.
At halfcourt one raptor will be selected to give a “rah, rah” speech about the year that was and why all of the fans should expect better next year.
In the past, Raptor players like Vince Carter and Chris Bosh have taken turns addressing the crowd. Last year it was Demar Derozan.
Who will be standing at center court to address the ACC crowd this year?
If the Raptors are smart they will let the coach do the talking.
Every Raptor player from stars like Bargnani and Derozan to popular players like Calderon and Amir Johnson have had up and down years at best. Should they address the crowd? It’s possible they might hear it from the fans the way Golden State owner Joe Lacob did during Chris Mullins’ jersey Retirement a few weeks ago. This city isn’t in a good mood when it comes to MLSE after the Leafs missed the playoffs once again.
Bryan Colangelo could take on the duties, but that could get even uglier since he has yet to turn this team into a consistently achieving franchise since he arrived in 2006. Toronto sports fans have shown that they aren’t shy when it comes to management, having gone after Ron Wilson and Brian Burke publicly during games. Though unlikely, Colangelo could be a target for the fans frustration.
Though it would be admirable for Colangelo to take the mic. Glen Grunwald used to address the crowd to a smattering of boos and took responsibility for the mess that was his team and promised to turn it around. Colangelo would be a good choice, but not the best.
If I am the Raptors brass, I bring someone out who the fans have no choice but to cheer.
It was Casey who came into camp and preached “pound the rock”. It is Casey who has done far more with this team than any other coach could have been expected to. It’s Casey who has turned this team from a defensive laughing-stock to a respectable defensive team. He said he wanted to change the culture in that dressing room and for the most part, he has.
There will not be one single person at the ACC on Thursday night that could possibly boo Dwane Casey or the job he has done this year.
He is considered by many to be one of the best coaches in the league this year and if it wasn’t for the Raptors win/loss record he could be among those receiving votes for Coach of the Year.
Dwane Casey should be the one speaking at the ACC on Thursday night because Toronto fans have no reason to doubt his words. He represents the hope that many raptor fans feel despite another year out of the playoffs.
Casey preached defense and then brought the goods. He said this team would work hard and compete and despite the low-level of talent on this team, they did. He promised the team would work hard and from all indications they have. Harder than anyone thought this group of players could work.
Casey turned Andrea Bargnani into an All-star for the first 20 games of the season. He hid the defensive deficiencies of both Bargnani and Calderon and made the team look very strong on the defensive end for the first time in I don’t know how long. He was able to “crack the code” and turn Demar’s season around in the second half and he got incredible performances out of players that many coaches never could have (J. Johnson, Aaron Gray, Bayless, etc). He’s been an absolute blessing this season.
Dwane Casey has given this city a little bit of hope for the future of this franchise and so on Thursday, a night when the franchise wants to sell “the future” to the fans, he should be the one to deliver the last word.
With an improved roster next season fans in this city can start legitimately thinking about playoff basketball in these parts. The reason is Dwane Casey.
Hopefully he has the opportunity to address the crowd on Thursday night and ignite some excitement in a city that is dying for something to cheer about.
The Zan Tabak Herald