Where does Nick Nurse rank among NBA coaches?

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
Nick Nurse (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

We all know him; the guitar-slaying, meme-worthy hero of our beloved Toronto Raptors has made a name for himself in the NBA. But, where does he sit in the current pantheon of NBA coaching ranks?

Nick Nurse is a head coach that feels like he’s been around forever. Although last year was technically his first year, there was so much talk from the year before about his inclusion in the identity of the Toronto Raptors that it seemed like last year wasn’t his rookie season.

Alas, it was–and the ending was emphatic. But, there’s a necessary debate of where he lies among the coaching ranks. After all, it’s hard to judge a coach when he employed the best overall team in Raptors history.

Be that as it may, Nurse obviously has some tricks up his sleeve that proved worthwhile. There’s a reason that the championship crowd serenaded Nurse with a “box-and-one” cheer. Ironically enough, as much as we enjoyed the tactic, it is actually not all that unheard of; it’s likely been used to guard a player on a middle school squad that hit puberty before his teammates.

This isn’t to slander Nurse and his skills as a coach. Indeed, he employed other techniques that proved to help the Raptors in their pursuit of a championship. To name a few: increasing 3-point shooting attempts, pick-and-roll schemes with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, and running the open floor with shooters and shot creators were all improvements over the Dwane Casey-led system.

To rank Nurse as a coach, we need to separate the NBA coaches into tiers. These tiers help figure out just where, in fact, he lies. As well, the tiers help figure out where he can reach in the NBA Kingdom–and how he has to improve as he continues to coach the Toronto Raptors.