This season has been solid evidence that the Pistons’ rebuild is in high gear.
Head coach Dwane Casey has been one of the main engineers of the development behind the rebuild — and he’ll be there for a couple more years.
Casey and the Pistons agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through 2024, a league source confirmed to The Detroit News on Wednesday. Casey has been an integral piece of general manager Troy Weaver’s restoring of the franchise and his work with the young players, especially the rookie class, has inspired hope for a revival.
It’s an additional year for Casey, who was hired in 2018 on a five-year deal to replace Stan Van Gundy, who was in a dual role as team president and head coach. Casey, who was the NBA coach of the year with the Toronto Raptors before the two sides parted ways, helped the Pistons to a playoff appearance in his first season.
They’ve fallen on hard times since, with a 20-46 record last season. This year, Weaver’s first, they have rebounded and though their record (20-50) hasn’t improved, Casey has worked with the three first-round picks, along with a slew of young prospects, to create a solid nucleus for the Pistons and hope heading into the summer.
“Coach and his staff and the players have done an incredible job of coming in every day and setting the tone and trying to move the ball forward every day,” Weaver said of Casey in March.
“I can’t say enough about Dwane and his staff. You think a lot of times when you’re going through this (rebuilding) situation, that people will say you might want to have a different culture and look at things differently, but I absolutely believe that we have the best coach in the world for what we’re going through.”
Casey, 64, was a longtime assistant coach with the Seattle SuperSonics beginning in 1994 and got his first opportunity as a head coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2005. He also was on the staff that won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks before moving on to the Raptors in 2011.
In his time with the Pistons, Casey has a record of 81-137, following the success in Toronto where he was 320-238 in seven seasons.
Despite the struggles, Weaver is behind Casey’s philosophy, and the new contract is proof of that.
“They often say the team takes on the personality of the coach — and that’s happened. These guys have been steady; they come in and do their job every day, and that’s who coach Casey is,” Weaver said March. “He has really set the tone inside the ball club about doing the right things and competing every day whether it’s practice, shootaround or a game.”