What new assistant Chris Finch might bring from earlier stops: Raptors Tactical

Title: What new assistant Chris Finch might bring from earlier stops: Raptors Tactical
Date: December 9, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at what new assistant coach Chris Finch could bring to the Raptors offense.

Hover in the orbit of the Toronto Raptors and it won’t be too long before the name Thelonious Monk is invoked. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is a massive fan, for both Monk’s music and the way his brand of jazz inspires him. Nurse took staff members and members of Arkells to screen a Monk documentary and estimates he has 40 of the prolific Monk’s albums on vinyl. You’ve surely read or heard something about Nurse, and jazz, and Monk, and the Raptors.

It wasn’t surprising, then, to hear Nurse once again calling on his favourite musician when talking about the Raptors’ offence on CBC Radio One on Monday. What has been a bit surprising, perhaps, is that Toronto’s offence the last two years hasn’t felt particularly jazzy. When Kawhi Leonard was around, that made sense; get out of the way of your elite soloist and fill in the spaces around him. When Leonard left, the halfcourt offence sunk to average, or a shade below, and while there are all kinds of caveats to that, it was more power chord than improvised melody.

Enter new assistant coach and long-time coaching connection Chris Finch. Nurse sounded excited to bring him aboard, calling him “one of the best offensive minds in the NBA.” And even if Finch doesn’t express his philosophy in terms of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, it’s clear he values syncopation above all else in an offensive attack.

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