1. Win 55 games
This is not going to be easy. Toronto won 48 games last year, but the conference has beefed up considerably. Atlanta and Cleveland look like playoff locks, the defending Eastern champion Celtics look much more robust, and the Nets will have all of their big names back in town.
The Raptors will need to defy the odds and challenge for either the top seed or No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. That sounds like a very lofty goal (it is), but Nurse has found himself accustom to defying the odds in his Raptors career. This year will be no different.
Nick Nurse must lead the Toronto Raptors to wins.
Let’s say everything goes as planned. Let’s say that Barnes has that breakout second season that everyone dreams about. What if Siakam manages to replicate his form from last year? How about the much-maligned bench becoming a strength rather than a weakness? Why can’t they compete at that level?
Nurse must cut out some of his old habits from last year that hampered them from accomplishing such a lofty feat. No more losing big half-time leads in the third quarter. No more beating a title contender and then losing to a rebuilding team that snuck up on you. If he can iron out those bumps, Nurser will feel the love from the COTY voters.