Title: Nick Nurse, Raptors trying to remain productive with season on hold
Date: April 3, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about how Nick Nurse and the Raptors are trying to stay productive while separated and while basketball isn’t a top priority.
Track the timeline of Nick Nurse’s duties since he was first named head coach of the Toronto Raptors in June of 2018 and it’s a surprise he’s been able to pick up new skills along the way.
His hiring was followed swiftly by the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and the creation of an uncommon degree of pressure for a first-year NBA head coach. The season, of course, went long, all the way to the NBA Finals and the team’s first championship. A mid-June parade rolled into a late-June draft, early-July free agency — complete with the official confirmation that Nurse would have plenty to adjust in his second year — and Las Vegas Summer League. Around those dates, Nurse joined Arkells on stage to show off the newfound guitar skill, sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at Wrigley Field and committed to becoming the head coach of Canada Basketball’s senior men’s team.
The latter meant that Nurse’s once-brief offseason was more or less gone entirely. He didn’t even receive the benefit of an All-Star break when play resumed, as he and his staff coached Team Giannis that weekend. Somehow, within those narrow gaps, he’d also rekindled his love of the piano and began to launch The Nick Nurse Foundation, his new endeavour to help spread sport, literacy and music to underprivileged children in the Toronto area.
“It was a pretty fast-lane life for a little while. Really moving in from one thing to the next constantly. So it has enabled me to slam on the brakes and catch my breath a little bit, which is good,” Nurse said. “I don’t feel like I really needed it. But now that it’s here, you know, when you’re looking for silver linings or positives about it.”