Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse provides boost ahead of difficult offseason

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors with Serge Ibaka #9 and Fred VanVleet #23. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors with Serge Ibaka #9 and Fred VanVleet #23. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Fresh off the frustrating end to their reign as NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors received some good news as head coach Nick Nurse signed a multi-year contract extension.

Nothing good lasts forever, particularly in the world of professional sports. The Toronto Raptors found this out the hard way, as they saw their run as NBA champions end in an enthralling and exhausting seven-game series versus the Boston Celtics.

Still recovering from the loss, at least the Raptors received some positive news on Tuesday. As per a press release from the team, head coach Nick Nurse has agreed to a multi-year contract extension.

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The timing was important, given that Nurse had just one year remaining on his previous contract and there were a growing number of questions about his future in Toronto. As per the Raptors’ team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

There is no denying Nurse fully deserved the contract extension. Certainly, his list of achievements in just two seasons as Raptors’ head coach makes for impressive reading.

The 53-year-old has compiled a 111-43 regular season record, which equates to the best winning percentage in NBA history at .721. He has been named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month on three occasions and coached at this year’s NBA All-Star Game.

Nurse led Toronto to a franchise-record 15 straight victories during the 2019-20 season and went on to be named NBA Coach of the Year. Most importantly of all, he helped the Raptors win their first championship last season.

There were some who wondered how much Nurse benefited from taking over a strong roster, which only got better with the trade for Kawhi Leonard. This was an understandable perspective, but the Carroll, Iowa native rose to the challenge and proved himself this season.

Nurse’s game-planning and schemes — particularly at the defensive end of the court — impressed everyone, as he showed just how talented he was. The seemingly unending barrage of injuries to key personnel only further highlighted his abilities as a head coach, as he led the Raptors to their best single-season winning percentage in franchise history.

Now though, it’s possible Nurse will face his biggest challenge yet, as the Raptors face a critical offseason. There is every possibility the likes of Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol won’t be back in Toronto for the 2020-21 campaign.

If this happens it will put the pressure on Nurse to continue producing wins (especially if the Raptors miss out on Giannis Antetokounmpo). At the same time, if the evidence of these last two seasons are anything to go by, he will be more than capable of dealing with any adversity and coming out on top.

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What has impressed you most about Nurse during his time as Toronto Raptors head coach? Are you confident he will help the team continue to succeed, despite the challenges which lie ahead? Let us know in the comments section below.