Dwane Casey, Franchise Rebuilder, Celebrates His 62nd Birthday

Dwane Casey is hoping the Pistons can deliver him a birthday upset over the heavily-favored Milwaukee Bucks tonight.

NBA coach Dwane Casey’s Detroit Pistons lost to the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the first game of the NBA playoffs on Monday.  He hopes for better results tonight in Game 2 as he celebrates his 62nd birthday. 

The Pistons don’t have the stars and the talent the Bucks have, but they do have Casey’s resilience and have adapted to his winning ways very quickly.


When Toronto dropped the ball and let Casey go a couple of months before they swung a blockbuster deal for Kawhi Leonard, he didn’t sit around and sulk. He rolled up his sleeves and got ready for another rebuild.  

Casey’s infused an improved offensive system that’s allowed Blake Griffin to expand his long-range game and recapture some of that explosiveness and bounce in transition that he had during his Lob City years. Griffin’s bum left knee has put a damper on any hopes of a Piston’s upset. He missed Game 1 and is uncertain for Game 2. 


Casey has always been lauded for his player development. It’s one of his lasting legacies from his time rebuilding the Raptors. Emerging players like Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell owe a large portion of their NBA success to Casey giving them opportunities that accelerated their growth as players.

He allowed Kyle Lowery and DeMar DeRozan to exist as co-No. 1 options when both are probably suited for secondary roles on really good teams. He’s doing similar things with even less talent as coach of Detroit.

When Casey was unceremoniously scapegoated for LeBron James‘ Eastern Conference dominance, it was a major win for the Pistons who are in the playoffs for only the second time in the last 10 years.


Casey had already proved to be the best coach in Raptors franchise history. He won a franchise -record 59 games and NBA Coach of the Year in 2018. He had a string of success that includes getting the Raptors to a conference finals in 2016 and the conference semifinals the last two seasons. 

His reputation as a franchise rebuilder is well cemented. He’s turned a disheveled Pistons franchise into a playoff team. They won’t make any noise this year, but his track record says they are on the come up and will continue to improve until they are a Beast in the East again.

Happy Birthday to a truly talented sideline stalker, who seems to get better with age. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.