The Toronto Raptors had an extensive search for their head coaching vacancy but ultimately decided to go with Nick Nurse as their replacement for Dwane Casey.
After much speculation of the Toronto Raptors leaning towards promoting Nick Nurse as their next head coach, the month-long wait appears to be over.
While the decision hasn’t been made official, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that an agreement has been made which is almost a guarantee. This decision didn’t come quickly either as the Raptors waited almost a month to come to a decision.
Many are probably wondering why the team took so long to promote Nurse? Obviously, Masai Ujiri wanted to cross all his t’s and dot every I since this is his first coaching hire.
Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail described the decision to hire Nurse as the Ujiri’s way of showing that things are going to change without assuming as much risk.
He could have easily hired Jerry Stackhouse if he wanted a drastic change of voice while still having some familiarity with the roster. Instead, Stackhouse decided to join the Memphis Grizzlies after he probably was informed that Nurse would be getting the Raptors’ job.
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According to David Zarum of Sportsnet, Ettore Messina and Nurse were the finalists in the Raptor’s coaching search. There was a strong body of work with Nurse as an assistant which made him a better fit for Ujiri since there is already a working relationship.
Where will Nurse have the biggest impact on the Raptors? Well, he’s gotten a head start when it comes to putting his stamp on the team as Michael Grange of Sportsnet explains.
All the changes to the Raptors’ identity on the offensive side of the ball were led by Nurse but it didn’t come out when it mattered the most. That’s the toughest task for the new coach but one he’s already experienced.
Obviously, the pressure is there but since he’s been on this bench for the past five seasons he understands the expectations but has never had to face them in the same way Casey did.
The Raptors have a lot invested in this current roster and don’t have much wiggle room to make changes unless a big part of their core is traded. At the same time, can Nurse teach this group new tricks?
That’s the belief Ujiri has in this decision and if last season’s improvements in the regular season was a sign of what can be done then Nurse certainly deserves a chance.
Not only that, but Ujiri will have to make the tough call on making other moves that he might not have wanted to in the past and Casey might have been the first of many.
What do you think about the decision to hire Nurse? Can he take the Raptors to the next level? Let us know in the comments below.