Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse has answered all of his critics

Toronto Raptors - Nick Nurse (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Nick Nurse (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Nick Nurse (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

As a first-year head coach, Nick Nurse has been tested throughout this postseason. The Toronto Raptors, and Nurse specifically, have answered every call.

Nick Nurse’s assignment from day one was clear—with the Toronto Raptors sporting a shiny new piece in Kawhi Leonard, a veteran guard in Danny Green, eventually dealing for a former all-star and Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol, it was all about getting this team to the NBA Finals to compete for a championship.

Nurse, shaky at times, pulled his roster through a number of challenges that were presented at day one of training camp in Vancouver.

Questions varied; how the relationship would develop between a rookie head coach and Leonard, who forced his way out of the league’s most well-run organization, after losing trust in the San Antonio Spurs’ training staff.

Leonard’s load management, searching for a competent bench unit, integrating the new additions, taking jabs for not making adjustments throughout the regular season; Nurse has had as eventful a first season a rookie coach could have.

Today, the franchise is one win away from its first NBA title in their first appearance in the Finals, after years of falling short in the postseason.

The biggest criticism of former Raptors coach, and reigning Head Coach of the Year, Dwane Casey, was the inability to make adjustments on the fly throughout games and adapt after losses.

The wrong defensive matchup on LeBron James, inability to capitalize on runs, create effective after-timeout plays, sticking with players that are unproductive, running traditional lineups that were ineffective against a faster pace; the list goes on, which inevitably led to Casey’s firing.

Nurse was promoted, but the biggest question was whether a man formerly under Casey’s staff would be much of a difference.

Now that the Toronto Raptors are in the NBA Finals, the answer is clear: Nick Nurse answered the call of his critics, and made the necessary changes and adjustments to get this franchise over the hump.