It has been an interesting few weeks for coaches in the NBA - Some shouldering blame and others receiving high praise.
Toronto Raptors Head Coach, Dwane Casey just received the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award as voted on by head coaches around the league. A day or two later, he was fired. Wait, what?
Casey's Raptors had the second-best record in the league this season (ahead of the Warriors) and the number one seed in the East. However, for the third consecutive season, they were knocked out by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Yes, LeBron is one of the premier athletes in the world and one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Still, a clean sweep did not look good for the Raps. Toronto needed some kind of shake-up to try and get over this LeBron-shaped hump that seems to keep them from reaching their potential.
Still, a pretty wild end to Dwane Casey's 7-year tenure with the Raptors. His dismissal after sustained success in Toronto exemplifies the volatility of the head coach position. Unfortunately it seems to serve as a scapegoat for many organizations year after year.
The highs of coaching - Brad Stevens
Coaches may receive a lot of the blame when things go wrong, as Dwane Casey did. Unfortunately they do not always get the praise when things are finally going right, because that is simply their expectation.
Furthering the example of volatility in coaching - Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics is receiving very high praise for what his young squad is accomplishing.
To start the Celtics season, they lost Gordon Hayward (Stevens' old player in his Butler days) to a gruesome ankle injury in their first game. They made the playoffs anyway, but lost All-Star Kyrie Irving to an injury before they started.
Despite all this, they have moved on to the Eastern Conference finals, with their coach receiving much of the credit for guiding their very young team. Steven is deserving, but too often coaches are treated as lesser parts of their teams. It is always good to see good coaches recognized.
Around the league
The good news for Dwane Casey is that he will have a long list of teams that will be interested in his services. Other top coaches this year such as Stevens, Gregg Popovich, and Mike D'Antoni will be recognized and given the opportunity to stay with their squads.
76ers coach Brett Brown has garnered a lot of recognition for finally having a successful year after many organized seasons of tanking. Upon losing to the Celtics in the playoffs, he said a few days later that he believed the team needed help. ESPN jumped on him like crazy for making such a comment even though they agreed.
Life as a coach is tough.
David Fizdale has been named the head coach of the New York Knicks, Sixers assistant Lloyd Peirce was named as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and the New Orleans Hornets hired Spurs assistant James Borrego.
Job security is a fickle thing at the pro level, but hey, the paychecks are pretty nice. A lot of these highs and lows of coaching apply all the way down to coaching kids. It can be very rewarding but also pretty tough. Coaches, hang in there. Players and parents, take it easy on 'em. They are doing a tough job the best they can.