The Toronto Raptors are the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, leading the Atlantic Division by 2.5 games and in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. These are all signs of a job well done by head coach Dwane Casey, but the two sides have not had "extensive" discussions about extending his expiring contract beyond this season, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News.

The Raptors have gone 17-9 since Rudy Gay's final game with the team, turning around a season that saw them start 6-12. Toronto is on track to finish above .500 for the first time since hiring Casey following the Dallas Mavericks' championship run while he was an assistant coach under Rick Carlisle. It would mark only the fifth time in franchise history that the team finished with more wins than losses.

Casey said his first goal was to give the Raptors a "defensive identity" back in June 2011 and the team is finally accomplishing that. Toronto has enjoyed a huge increase in defensive efficiency since last season. They're allowing 100.9 points per 100 possessions, the sixth-best overall defensive rating in the league, according to NBA.com. They allowed 104.7 points per 100 possessions last season, ranking them in the bottom-10 in the NBA.

The massive year-to-year improvement is happening while the team develops its young talent. Big man Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross are both second-year players who have stepped into increased roles.