Raptors: Nick Nurse’s Coach of the Year odds border on disrespect

TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 21: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 21: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The latest Toronto Raptors odds haven’t been kind to Nick Nurse and his team, as they made it seem like the squad faces a severe uphill climb in order to make it to the postseason. After earning the No. 4 overall pick last year, that trepidation is understandable.

Even with the loss of Kyle Lowry, Nurse has a team full of proven NBA scorers and intriguing young talents, meaning that Toronto shouldn’t be discounted as a potential impact player in the postseason irrespective of what Vegas says.

Not only do the odds hint that Toronto is in for another rebuilding year, but they also aren’t too keen on Nurse, as they believe that despite the fact he has a Coach of the Year under his belt, there is almost no way he wins it this year. That’s just plain disrespect.

The folks over at WynnBet have Nurse as a mind-numbing +4000 to win Coach of the Year, meaning that a bet of $100 on Nurse will net you a $4,000 return. Those longshot odds are frankly ridiculous, as an NBA champion like Nurse shouldn’t be given the same odds to win the NBA’s top coaching honor as a first-year coach.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has poor Coach of the Year odds.

Steve Nash of the Nets and Erik Spoelstra of the Heat have the best odds at +900, followed by Frank Vogel, Quin Snyder, and Monty Williams at +1100.

Nurse’s odds are equal to that of Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. and one of his former assistants in Chris Finch. First-year coaches like Chauncey Billups and Willie Green have +3000 odds.

What’s even more puzzling than Nurse being put in the same tier as neophyte head coaches is the fact that Nurse, the 2020 Coach of the Year, has a very clear pathway to winning the award in 2021-22.

If the Raptors defy the expectations and end up earning one of the top five seeds in the Eastern Conference, Nurse should be considered for COTY honors. With this roster, that task is hard, but not impossible.

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Tom Thibodeau won the award last year after dragging the Knicks from the lottery to the playoffs, and Nurse could do the same. The Raptors were fourth in the East at 16-15 during the 2020-21 season, and with a ton of big hitters back in the lineup, Nurse has more than an outside shot at being named the best coach in the league.

We’ve seen Nurse win a title in his first season as a head coach and earn the No. 2 seed in the East without Kawhi Leonard, so stranger things have happened. Not putting Nurse among the favorites is understandable but giving him odds that are tied for 23rd-best in the league is a bit puzzling.

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