1. Championship Coach and President
The Toronto Raptors have themselves an incredible duo off the court in Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri. But it’s being overlooked yet again this coming season. Head coach Nick Nurse has proven that he is one of the best coaches in the NBA, and just because a team loses a couple of key players doesn’t mean their season is going to go down the drain. He proved that last season after losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in free agency. Nurse would guide the Raptors to a 53-19 record that placed them second in the Eastern Conference.
This off-season they lost both big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol but they quickly filled those holes by signing free agents Aron Baynes and Alex Len, as well as re-signing their own Chris Boucher. Those aren’t amazing upgrades to Ibaka and Gasol but they are also not horrible additions either. It fills the void and gets the job done.
Nurse has only been in the league for two full seasons, but that doesn’t stop him from having a marvelous list of accolades: NBA championship, two division titles, back to back seasons with 50 or more wins, be named head coach to the All-Star game, the 2019-20 Coach of the Year award. He also has one of the highest winning percentages of all-time among coaches, with a .721 percent winning record.
Masai Ujiri, on the other hand, is the mastermind. The things he does for this organization is second to none, the way he and his team draft players, find players that went undrafted and sign them, and especially he isn’t afraid to pull a trigger on a trade that seemed weird at the time but definitely paid off (yes I’m talking about the Kawhi for DeMar trade). He is loved in the city and especially in the basketball community. Without Masai, I don’t know where this Raptors team would be right now because of how good of a job he and his staff has done.
All in all, when you have a president who is Masai Ujiri and a head coach who is Nick Nurse, you’re bound to be a great team, especially with a roster that still has its core players and has two of them locked up for the future.
You should never count out the team from Canada as they’ve seen success before and they’re hungry to see it again, and with the haters and doubters for this coming season, you know that will just motivate them even more.