The Toronto Raptors have been unusually lucky in the coaching department during their brief existence. Names like Dwane Casey, who helped turn this squad around, and the franchise’s only champion in Nick Nurse have been a big part of the reason Toronto has had so much success.
Since 2006, the Raptors have been the only team who has had three separate Coach of the Year winners in Nurse, Casey, and Sam Mitchell. In that span, the only team with more than one COTY is the Spurs, who just so happen to have a top-five coach ever in Gregg Popovich.
Nurse pulled off a damn good coaching job last season, as he won 48 games and earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. While Nurse did receive one second-place Coach of the Year vote last year, he finished miles behind winner Monty Williams in the running.
The Raptors could end up getting Nurse his second Coach of the Year victory in the last four seasons, though there are some serious obstacles in his path that could make it tough to overcome some of the competitors in this conference. Checking these three boxes will be key.
Toronto Raptors: Can Nick Nurse win Coach of the Year?
3. Improve Toronto’s offense
Like any good leader who goes where he is needed, Nurse will likely take a greater interest in getting the offense operating at maximum efficiency. While he was beset by poor personnel, Nurse’s offense wasn’t as clean and crisp as some of his past Raptors teams.
Not only was Toronto in the bottom half of the league in points per game, but they had some abysmal 3-point percentage numbers that could end up biting them in the rear during the 2022-23 season. Luckily, Masai Ujiri has taken steps to fix that and give Nurse more to work with.
Nick Nurse needs to improve the Toronto Raptors’ offense.
Not only is Nurse going to have a much-improved Scottie Barnes as a shooter, but he’ll have a bench with a full year of the new-look Precious Achiuwa and the recently signed Otto Porter Jr. to tool around with. The Raptors have no excuse not to be in the top half in terms of field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
Toronto’s defense is already excellent, and the unique shape of their roster will help them sustain that success as the new season comes around. Nurse has a history of squeezing solid offense out of fringe starters, meaning he can be trusted to get this unit back to full strength.