Tim BontempsESPN3 Minute Reading
PHILADELPHIA — After 10 years in Toronto as an assistant and head coach, Nick Nurse said Friday he’s “going to take a few weeks to see where I’m at” at the end of what he called “a tough season from some standpoints. “
“Early on, had some pretty serious injuries with some key guys,” Nurse said before his Raptors took on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. “I thought we kind of weathered that for a while … and then yeah, I think the trade deadline stuff, I don’t know if there was a thousand rumors, 999 of them were about us, it seems. So that maybe as interesting as it is.”
The nurse, when asked where her head was at, said she was mainly focused on two things.
“First of all, I think when this season is over, we’re going to review everything, and even personally, I’m going to take a few weeks to see where I’m at, you know?” The nurse said. “Like you said, where my head’s at. And just see how the relationship with the organization is and everything. It’s been 10 years for me now, which is a pretty good run. I don’t know, over those 10 years we got to be up there in wins with anybody in the league. I don’t know where that is, but we’ve had a lot of big seasons.
“And then, right now, my head is to make it as long as possible in one season. This team needs playoff experience. So where I’m at right now … finish these six, see where let’s go, see if we can’t creep up a spot or two in the standings, and then give them hell in the playoffs, see if we can get into a real series and take it from there.”
When asked if that meant Nurse was considering his future somewhere other than Toronto after this season, he said he wasn’t.
“No,” he said. “I’m concentrated on this job, for sure, and this game, essentially. But I think 10 years is a good time to sit back and reflect a little bit. So I think we’re going to do that all when the season end.”
Nurse, 55, has been the Raptors’ head coach since the start of the 2018-19 season and was an assistant under Dwane Casey with the franchise for five years before that.
Since taking over, Nurse has gone 224-160 as head coach of the Raptors, leading them to the 2019 NBA championship in his first season. The team made the playoffs in three of his four seasons.
The Raptors are seventh in the NBA in wins over that span and second behind the Golden State Warriors since the start of the 2013-14 season.
This season, Toronto hovered around .500 through the first two months of the season before going 10-18 from Dec. 9 to Feb. 1.
Since then, however, the Raptors entered Friday’s game 15-8 — including posting the league’s third-best defensive rating during that span — and tied with the Atlanta Hawks for eighth place in the standings of the Eastern Conference. That stretch also coincided with Toronto getting center Jakob Poeltl — whom the team sent to the San Antonio Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard trade in the summer of 2018 — back from San Antonio in time to give they some much needed bulk in the paint. .
“My background and training is a lot of people coming and going, minor leagues and Europe and so on, and basically you have to come in and put in a good, solid day’s work with whatever’s going on, and get along a good game plan and try to get guys to execute it and just hang in there,” Nurse said, when asked why things changed. “Just stay there and stay with it and you show the positives, stay positive, show the coaching, really continue to show the coaching what we can do better, and we’ve gotten healthier, we’ve connected more a little bit. , played a little bit harder, starting to make more shots, all those things add up, because there were a lot of really close losses there as well.
“So we’re not a million miles away. So shape some things, polish some things and go from there.”