After an exhaustive search that apparently went worldwide, the Raptors have reportedly, finally, hired their next head coach. It’s the first time team president Masai Ujiri has gotten to do that, and wouldn’t you know it, the right man for the job was sitting right there the whole time.
As per ESPN’s Woj, Toronto’s ninth head coach in franchise history will be Nick Nurse.
Here’s the first tweet and full report:
The Toronto Raptors are hiring assistant Nick Nurse as the franchise's new head coach, league sources tell ESPN. Sides are working through details of contract now.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 12, 2018
We’ve already written a bunch about this. Here’s where I tried to analyze the Raptors internal candidates as a trio. Here’s where we reflected on some of the other candidates in relation to the Raps’ assistant coaches. And here’s a comment on the report about the choice narrowing to Nurse and Ettore Messina (whom we smartly profiled this morning).
There’s not much else to say about Nurse that hasn’t already been said. He’s long been thought to be next in line for a head coaching gig, but has never held the position in the NBA so we don’t know exactly how he’ll handle those duties. Nurse’s career arc is unique, and it sounds like it has shaped him into some sort of innovator as a basketball thinker. Come next season we’ll get to see what that actually means.
From my own extremely limited dealings with Nurse, he looks and sounds like a guy who will have no trouble earning the respect of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. And for what its worth, Nurse will likely be able to keep this Raptors squad on the same path its been on these last five years when he first joined the team. How much better he can make the Raptors remains to be seen — but then, some of that improvement work may be yet to come from Masai Ujiri.
We’ll have more to come on Nick Nurse’s history, and I’m sure you all have many more thoughts to express, so be sure to sound off in the comments.