Here are my thoughts on Dwane Casey's contract extension, Michael Carter Williams as rookie of the year, Mark Jackson's firing in Golden State, RC Buford as executive of the year and Kevin Durant as most valuable player.
1. Dwane Casey contract extension: Makes complete sense to me. Stability in leadership positions in any organization is vital to success and the fact that you know what the vision/direction of the Raptors will be for the foreseeable future, that's a positive. He earned that extension with a solid approach the past three years. The building process of creep-crawl-walk-run is in the walk stage right now and that's a solid development. Lots and lots of work ahead to get it to the run stage but usually an important part of that vital next step beyond better players is having consistency and shared vision at the top to see the job through. The right decision was made. A good day for not only Dwane Casey but for Raptors fans.
2. Michael Carter Williams (76ers): Rookie of the Year choice was a no-brainer. He's actually a better pro than what I saw from him in college at Syracuse. Wonderful all-round talent that impacts the game on so many fronts. If they can add a solid supporting cast around him, he's got a chance to be one of the elite lead guards in the league for a long time. A real positive amidst a season of frustration in Philly.
3. Mark Jackson (Warriors): Can't say I'm surprised by this move. With two assistant coaches being let go during the regular season and the constant rumors, you knew that something behind the scenes had run amiss in the Bay Area. He did a good job in his run there and in my opinion, deserves and will get another crack at it at some point, possibly quite soon. Opens up a very attractive job. If I'm in their shoes, the guy I go get is Stan Van Gundy. He did a terrific job in both Miami and Orlando as a head coach and, after taking two years off, you'd be getting an energized guy with big time leadership and head coaching experience. Lots of talent and money invested there so go get a guy that can help you see full return on your investment.
4. RC Buford (Spurs): The model franchise. Partnership, leadership, basketball savvy and smarts all in effect in major doses. Behind the scenes, Buford sets the tone for the positive direction for this organization. No panic, always the big picture in mind and a terrific feel for the team concept. They do things in a first class fashion and his support of Gregg Popovich in the shadows is impressive. Well earned and well deserved.
5. Kevin Durant (Thunder): If you haven't watched/listened to Durant's MVP acceptance speech, please do so. Wow! I've always been a huge fan of him as a person and player but now I'm head over heels about him. Gotta tell you, he had me crying. What a terrific speech from one of the true genuine guys in sport today. A class act and a true gentleman.