The Toronto Raptors have promoted Assistant Coach Nick Nurse to fill the head coaching vacancy left by the dismissal of Dwane Casey.
Iowa native Nurse becomes the ninth Head Coach in the history of the Toronto Raptors organization. After spending years coaching in the UK, Belgium, and domestically at the collegiate level, Nurse looks to translate his experiences to the big show as he looks to improve on the Toronto Raptors’ 59-win season.
While not a shock hiring, there are some that may consider the promotion of Nurse to be a lateral move. Despite being a two-time BBL Champion, two-time D-League Champion, and D-League coach of the year, fans have clamoured for a separation from the previous system that led the Raptors to their disappointing second-round playoff exit.
Spurs assistant coach and legendary European coach Ettore Messina seemed to be the other finalist for the head coaching position as he was recently spotted at Toronto Restaurant Eleven.
Spurs assistant Ettore Messina was in Toronto for a 2nd interview last week. Belief is the Raptors have narrowed their head coaching search to 2 leading candidates – Nick Nurse and Messina – with a decision expected to come this week or next.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 10, 2018
The promotion of Nurse continues the Raptors program mandate of internal development. Eyed for head coaching positions in the past, Nurse will aim to build on the team and system he helped to establish after 2017’s isolation-based disaster.
Regarding the future of the club, maintaining Nurse may suggest less drastic personnel moves come this off-season. After establishing Toronto’s new egalitarian offensive scheme it seems unlikely they would dispose of a majority of players whose efforts contributed to regular season success, despite playoff failure.
What’s next is the 2018 NBA Draft on June 21st. Even with no pick to speak of, the Raptors have already begun their player workouts and Nurse’s next step will be to see who or what he plans to do for their immediate future.