Nurse Reflects on a Challenging Season

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse revealed on Friday that he plans to take a few weeks to assess his future with the organization following what he described as “a difficult season from a number of standpoints.” After 10 years with the Raptors as an assistant and head coach, Nurse said he wants to evaluate his position and determine where he stands.

“Early on, we had some pretty serious injuries with key guys,” Nurse explained. “I thought we kind of weathered that for a while … and then yeah, I think the trade deadline stuff, I don’t know if there was a thousand rumors, 999 of them were about us, it seemed like. So that was probably as interesting as it gets.”

Focused on Playoffs

Although Nurse is taking some time to reflect on his future, he is still focused on the Raptors’ current playoff aspirations. The team needs more playoff experience, and Nurse plans to do everything possible to make that happen.

“My head is to make this as long of a season as possible,” he said. “This team needs playoff experience. So that is where I’m at right now … finish out these six, see where we land, see if we can’t creep up a spot or two in the standings, and then give them hell in the playoffs, see if we can get in a real series and take it from there.”

Reflecting on a Successful Tenure with the Raptors

Nurse, 55, has been with the Raptors for ten years, serving as an assistant coach for five years under Dwane Casey before becoming head coach at the start of the 2018-19 season. Under his leadership, the Raptors won the 2019 NBA championship in his first season and made the playoffs in three out of his four seasons.

Since taking over as head coach, Nurse has amassed a 224-160 record. The Raptors are seventh in the NBA in wins over that span and second behind the Golden State Warriors since the start of the 2013-14 season.

The Future

When asked if he has considered leaving Toronto, Nurse replied, “No. I’m concentrated on this job, for sure, and this game, essentially. But I think 10 years is a good time to sit back and reflect a little bit. So I think we’re going to do that all when the season ends.”

With a record of 27-38, the Raptors are currently in a tie with the Atlanta Hawks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They have gone 15-9 since February and have the league’s third-best defensive rating.

“My background and training is a lot of people coming and going, minor leagues and Europe and stuff, and you got to go in and put a good, solid day’s work in no matter what’s happening,” Nurse said. “You just stick with that and stick with that, and you show the positives, stay positive, show the teaching, really keep showing the teaching of what we can do better, and we’ve got a little healthier, we got a little more connected, played a little harder, starting to make more shots, all those things add up, because there’s a lot of really close losses in there, too.”