The Toronto Raptors search for the franchises new head coach took a month but in the end, they didn’t have to go very far. Nick Nurse, the team’s assistant coach since 2013 has been promoted and will be the Raptors head coach next season.
Nurse, 50, has plenty of coaching experience ranging from Europe to the NBA D League (now the G League). His first experience in the NBA was when he joined the Raptors as an assistant in 2013.
He has spent time in Britain winning two championships. Spent plenty of time in the D League winning two championships along with a coach of the year award. And now he begins his next chapter as a head coach this time with a team he is very familiar with.
After interviewing many people like former Raptors 905 G League coach Jerry Stackhouse who took an assistant job with Memphis, now Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, the two front-runners for the job were Nurse and Messina. But the Raptors went with their gut, along with what people in the organization had said according to Josh Lewenberg; go with Nurse.
As of this weekend, the organization was still split between Nick Nurse and Ettore Messina. The Spurs asst had made a strong impression in both of his interviews, but in the end there was a strong internal push for Nurse, I'm told.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 12, 2018
As an assistant coach Nurse was the man behind the Raptors offense. You can expect to see much of the same from the Raptors offensively, but at the same time now that Nurse is in charge, you can expect to see changes since he is actually calling the shots.
Nurse’s idea’s and plays were often put on the back burner considering former head coach Dwane Casey wanted the Raptors to be a defensive first team. Now with an offensive minded coach at the helm, you can expect to see a shift in the team’s focus.
However, the focus in Toronto will remain the same. It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes this offseason but the main goal is to win. That being said the push to be the No.1 seed during the regular season will always be there but that will get you a pat on the back and doesn’t mean you were successful. Winning the NBA championship is what the team is after and whether they do it as the eighth seed or as the one, it doesn’t matter.
A coaching change at this point means the Raptors aren’t ready to blow this team up like many suggested they should after numerous failed attempts to advance to the NBA Finals. Nurse was awarded a three-year deal for a reason. One being they believe this core is a winner but it’s missing something.
Masai Ujiri must have confidence in Nurse considering he felt the reason the Raptors lost to the Cavaliers was because of coaching. If Ujiri and the players have confidence in Nurse, then the fans should too.
Nurse’s deal with the Raptors is for $10 million, over three years.
Nick Nurse has agreed to a three-year, nearly $10M deal to become head coach of the Toronto Raptors, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 13, 2018