The Toronto Raptors were one of the most surprising teams in the NBA last season, going from the No. 4 overall pick to a No. 5 seed that won two playoff games. Nick Nurse was able to pull off some miraculous feats in getting a somewhat thin Raptors roster as far as they went.
In their first season in almost a decade without Kyle Lowry, Toronto managed to finish better than the loaded Nets and new-look Bulls. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam deserve a ton of credit, but Nurse’s contributions can’t be overlooked. However, the Coach of the Year voters didn’t seem to share that sentiment.
Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams was named Coach of the Year after winning 64 contests in the regular season. Grizzlies mastermind Taylor Jenkins was firmly in second place. Raptors fans hoping that Nurse would be spotted somewhere high in the rankings are in for some bad news.
Nurse was tied with former assistant Chris Finch for eighth in the Coach of the Year voting. While names like Williams, Jenkins, and Ime Udoka should be at the very top of this list for their performance this year, Nurse being that low proves that the media is unaware of what an exceptional job of coaching he did.
Should Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse have more COY votes?
Nurse got one second and one third-place vote for taking a team from the No. 12 seed to the No. 5 seed in one season. Erik Spoelstra took an excellent Heat team and made them slightly better than they were last year, yet got the third-most votes of any coach in the league.
Ty Lue did some nice things with the Clippers, considering the absence of Kawhi Leonard. Even with that, he got more votes than Nurse despite the fact he didn’t even make it to the postseason after losing the play-in. JB Bickerstaff for 28 points compared to Nurse’s four. His Cavaliers watched the playoffs at home on TV.
Nurse turned a team that was starting Aron Baynes and Stanley Johnson into a 48-win team after just one season. Going from 27 wins to the No. 5 seed despite lacking depth at the center position or a viable backup point guard has illustrated that Nurse is one of the most adaptable coaches this game has to offer. No wonder the Lakers want to hire him!
Even if you want to hand the award to Williams or Jenkins, the fact that Nurse can’t even sniff the top five despite his fantastic comeback is further proof that Toronto is still not a valued commodity by the NBA media landscape. Nurse needs to go above and beyond to win his second Coach of the Year honor.