2) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
It is firmly believed that Nurse will win the media’s Coach of the Year award, which will be handed out after the 2019-20 season has been completed. However, this is about the irony of not enough of his fellow coaches voting for him to win the Coaches Association’s equivalent.
We can appreciate that Nurse only just fell one vote short of first place, so you can’t claim he wasn’t taken seriously. Regardless, you still have to wonder why not enough of the other coaches around the NBA felt he was worthy of their vote?
As we’ve already noted, Nurse achieved continued success despite no longer having the supremely talented Leonard in his lineup. However, it was this absence that actually allowed the 53-year-old to prove how much of a talented head coach he really is.
Nurse was constantly tinkering with his game plan and coming up with new ways to get the best out of his players. This was also a necessity given all the aforementioned injury challenges and yet, he continued to succeed and exceed expectations.
As noted by William Lou of Yahoo Sports Canada, Nurse revived the popularity of various zone schemes. This resulted in a suffocating defence, capable of containing the league’s top players.
This was most recently highlighted by the 107-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, where the Raptors limited LeBron James to 20 points. Even more impressive, Anthony Davis was held to seven shots and 14 points, in a dominating defensive display.
As per Lou, Nurse’s schemes inspired copycat game plans around the NBA. However, as is unfortunately the case in similar scenarios in many workplaces, while people may benefit from copying someone else’s ideas, they often don’t want to give the credit where it’s deserved.