If there is one word Dwane Casey will not have associated with his team this season, it’s the word ‘soft.’
Or any variation of that word.
In Casey’s world, a soft team is a team that is not playing well defensively, and Casey already saw that team last season. He is determined never to see that again.
“We’re adding more players to do that now,” Casey said. “We’re adding Tyler (Hansbrough). We’re going in with a defensive mentality that we did in Year 1 ( two years ago) .
“We have to have people thinking: ‘Ah, man, I don’t want to go play Toronto tonight’ and do it legally without having a lot of fouls, but do it physically in a legal way. I thought we accomplished that in Year 1 and I thought last year we took a step back. Now we have to get back to our core.”
But Psycho-T alone isn’t going to get the job done and Casey is well aware of that.
“Tyler does it, Quincy (Acy) does it, Amir (Johnson) does it, JV (Jonas Valanciunas) is going to be a year better at it,” Casey said of playing tough defence that makes an opponent know you’re there in the most direct terms. “That’s going to be our focus from Day 1, back to a defensive identity. And it’s going to be laid out. If you don’t play defence you are not going to play. You can’t. We can’t win without a defensive mentality.”
Reported by Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun