Besides Kawhi Leonard, who is undoubtedly the guy who changed the entire Toronto Raptors franchise, the most important figure in the rise of this organization is Nick Nurse.
The 52-year old coach revolutionized the Raptors’ game, and it wasn’t just this year. Nurse’s signature could be seen all over the place even in the previous seasons, when he worked in Canada as the assistant coach.
His offensive variations and new strategies made Toronto one of the best teams in the county, and eventually, once he took over, they became champions.
Exactly one year after his appointment at the head coach position in Toronto, Nurse won the title, becoming the 7th rookie coach in the NBA who won the trophy and the first one who had both NBA and NBA G League rings. And he pretty much reshaped the landscape in the league.
Now, he is ready to take on more challenges.
“I’m getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it’s going to make me a better coach,” he said to the media representatives yesterday.
It was no secret that Nurse wanted to negotiate a deal with the Canadian national team to lead them at the upcoming World Cup and the Olympic Games. And he confirmed that they found a mutual interest in the end.
“It’s something I’m looking forward to doing.”
The Canadian team is in the toughest group of the entire competition in China, which starts on the 31st of August. Besides them, Senegal, Lithuania, and Australia are also going to compete for the first two places and the advance to the next group, where they will probably meet with France and Germany.
Nurse explained that the period between these two competitions is something which suits well to him, saying that he didn’t want to miss a chance to learn something new.
“It’s a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in OK. I’m just giving up some vacation time,” he said.
Raptors’ coach had a similar experience in the past, but he never led one nation as the head coach. In 2012 Olympics, Nurse was the assistant coach of Great Britain’s national team.
Nick Nurse To Coach Canada At 2019 FIBA World Cup https://t.co/9KVWD5Lxrg
— RealGM (@RealGM) June 16, 2019
The Canadians could create one hell of a crew. There are several big-time names on their roster, including Jamal Murray from the Nuggets, Cavaliers’ center Tristan Thompson, R.J. Barett from Duke, Shai Gilgeous-Alexader from Clippers, Dillon Brook s from the Grizzlies. There were some rumors that Andrew Wiggins might join, but that is not realistic at the moment. Anyway, this is a team worthy of respect, and with the reigning NBA champion as their coach, anything is possible.
Among other questions yesterday, the reporters wanted to know the status of Kawhi Leonard. Nurse told them that he doesn’t know anything at the moment, but hopes for the best. The only thing he is certain is that the Claw will make his decision pretty soon.
“I don’t really know,” Nurse said. “I know he’s got to make a decision here really soon, a couple of weeks.
Nurse became the hero of the Canadian basketball in the last year, and if he manages to create some notable result in the World Cup or the Olympics, his reputation will only grow bigger. Though, it will be very hard for something like that because of the competition, which is pretty severe.
Australia is coming to China with Ben Simmons on board, as well as Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Jonah Bolden, etc.
On the other side, Lithuania has Raptors’ former center Jonas Valanciunas, possibly Domantas Sabonis.
Canada meets with Australia in their opening game at the tournament on September 1st.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.