As TSN Insider Peter Yannopoulos first reported on Sunday morning, Nurse is set to become the head coach for Canadian Men’s National Team for this summer’s 2019 FIBA World Cup:
The news keeps getting better for basketball in our country. Sources confirm to me that Nick Nurse will become the next head coach for Team this summer at the world championships in China. Brillant hire by Rowan Barrett and Canada basketball. #RDS— Peter Yannopoulos (@PeteYannopoulos) May 26, 2019
The move would seem to make sense for Team Canada, which has traveled a long road in finding a replacement for Jay Triano, who stepped down in March. Triano was popular among players, so finding a replacement was always going to be a tall order; Nurse, fresh off a an extraordinarily successful season as a rookie head coach, would seem to fit the bill!
In his first year on the job, Nurse led the Raptors to a 58-24 record, second best in the league, and second-best in franchise history. He successfully integrated a superstar, Kawhi Leonard, who arrived after Nurse was hired (and immediately skyrocketed expectations), and went 17-5 in games that Leonard sat out for “load management,” as the team carefully looked after Leonard’s health following his injury-plagued 2017-2018 campaign. The team also swapped out a third of its roster at the trade deadline, adding Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin, and dealt with multiple injuries all season long.
Despite all that, the Raptors have amassed a 12-6 record in the postseason to date, beating Orlando in five games, Philadelphia in seven games, and top-seeded Milwaukee in six — including four straight after falling behind 0-2. Nurse deserves a ton of credit for tweaking his rotations just enough to put his guys in position to succeed, even though multiple players have slumped or seemed to lose confidence at one point or another during this playoff run.
And now, with the Raptors set to make their first-ever NBA Finals appearance on Thursday, it looks like Nurse won’t get much of a vacation this summer.
But maybe he’ll continue to get shoulder massages from Drake? As also reported on Sunday morning, Team Canada and Drake’s OVO brand are set to announce “increased involvement” in some sort of partnership deal. Again, nothing has been confirmed yet, but everything points to the ongoing success and growth of basketball in Canada, which can only be a good thing.
Canada has not had a team in the men’s Olympic tournament since 2000, and needs a good result at the World Cup to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.