The Toronto Raptors have now misplaced six straight video games. Regardless of this, they’re simply three video games again of the sixth place Atlanta Hawks. The Raptors have remained not less than considerably constant this season, regardless of the quite a few modifications and challenges they’ve handled. A giant cause why is head coach Nick Nurse and his balanced, and for higher or worse, ever-adaptable system.
The largest problem they’ve handled this season started on February 26, when Nurse and 5 of his assistants, together with Pascal Siakam had been sidelined because of the NBA’s COVID-19 well being and security protocols.
The state of affairs worsened when Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw and Malachi Flynn had been added to that listing and missed the final two video games earlier than the All-Star break.
The Raptors went 0-5 after dropping VanVleet and the others, though a lot of the losses had been by a detailed margin because of Nick Nurse (even when he’s not on the bench) and his balanced system.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse preaches effectivity on each ends
Though the Raptors at the moment sit eleventh within the Japanese Convention standings, they rank seventh within the East in defensive effectivity and sixteenth total within the NBA. Offensively the Raptors have arguably been even higher. Earlier than the gamers’ absences, the Raptors’ offense was within the high 10 within the league and since has dropped to a nonetheless respectable 14th, good for sixth within the East.
We’ve identified this concerning the Raptors since shortly after Nurse grew to become head coach. He makes his gamers run and defend relentlessly, usually using totally different defensive schemes in the identical recreation relying on who the opposing gamers are on the ground.
Nurse and his gamers usually say, do the work on the defensive finish and the offense will finally come and it has burst out this season.
Fred VanVleet is a superb instance of being a disciple of Nick Nurse’s each ends strategy. Though he can battle at occasions along with his offensive effectivity, he nonetheless leads the group with 19.9 factors per recreation this season and he has his streak of scoring not less than one three-pointer per recreation at a staggering 41 video games (even after his return from contracting the virus) and counting.
Defensively, VanVleet is having a profession 12 months, averaging a career-high 3.7 defensive rebounds per recreation and 0.8 blocks per recreation, whereas additionally placing up 1.7 steals per recreation, simply shy of his profession finest 1.9 from final season. His performances have many across the league noticing and acknowledging that possibly Fred VanVleet needs to be a candidate for NBA defensive participant of the 12 months.
Whereas his defensive emergence isn’t all all the way down to his head coach, it is vitally a lot the wholistic philosophy that Nurse, his teaching employees, and the Raptors themselves apply that has gamers like Fred performing properly this season and most significantly they’re staying alive within the hunt for a playoff berth.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse’s fashion has helped different coaches get jobs
Mockingly, the group simply forward of the Raptors within the standings is the Indiana Pacers who’re coached by Nurse’s ex-Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgen. Bjorkgren is certainly a pupil of Nurse, particularly on the defensive finish the place the Pacers rank 4 locations larger than the Raptors, twelfth total within the league.
Additionally simply final month, one other of Nurse’s assistants took a head teaching job. Chris Finch was employed to be the brand new head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and though they’re nonetheless struggling as a result of properly, they’re the Timberwolves, Nurse’s fashion and adaptable system is producing versatile coaches who’re readymade for NBA head teaching jobs.
No matter what occurs this season, Nurse’s job is seemingly untouchable with the Raptors, correctly.
The place else are they going to discover a loopy and inventive mastermind keen to attempt something to get a defensive cease? If the Raptors do make the playoffs, it’ll be all the way down to Nurse and his gamers that he’s instilled his scheme on each ends of the ground.