Upset Nick Nurse rewarding Raptors who play hard with minutes; others are nailed to the bench


It is not in Nick Nurse’s nature to be openly critical of the Raptors, to call out specific players for their failings, to publicly chastise underperformers.

It is telling, then, that the coach is now very open and very unequivocal about the demands he places on his players and the repercussions that will come with non-compliance.

He is not ranting, he’s not screaming but he is very direct with his words and his actions:

Be ready to play hard or be ready to sit down.

“I didn’t play a couple guys (in Sunday’s loss to Boston) and tried some other guys and that’s got to be the consequence right now,” Nurse said Monday afternoon.

“We can’t have multiple guys not engaged in the game like (Friday) in Indiana.”

Nurse did go with a much different look in a couple of spots Sunday that proved just how upset he was.

He benched Chris Boucher for the entire game — his minutes went to Issac Bonga.

Dalano Banton played three minutes in the first half and watched the entire second half as Malachi Flynn and then Justin Champagnie got playing time.

It was a statement. Loud and clear.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, seen here in a game against the Celtics on Sunday night, is sending a message to his players using playing time as his reward.

  • Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa attempts to block a shot from Boston Celtics guard Josh Richardson on Sunday night. Raptors coach Nick Nurse was very happy with Achiuwa’s play Sunday night despite only scoring six points.

“There’s just no time to ease into the game, there’s no time to play it a little cool, there’s no time to not just give maximum effort the whole time they’re in there and that’s what we’re striving for right now all the way through the bench, and we’re battling there a little bit,” he said.

“Again, I’m very pleased with what the other guys brought — the Isaacs, the Yutas (Watanabe) and the Justins.

“They came in there with some fire and some good play — smart, tough, hustle, energy, rebounds, blocked shots, steals. They made some plays, but all those guys need to provide that on a consistent basis, so we’ll see what happens and how it plays out from here.”

Nurse did laud Precious Achiuwa (“I thought he had an awesome game last night. He probably scored six points, but man, did he play good,” the coach said,) as someone who gets it.

“Whenever you’re out there you play hard, try to make the right plays,” Achiuwa said. “Shots are going to fall and some days shots aren’t going to fall but you can always control effort, control how hard you play on defence and just playing the right way … effort is something you control.”

With a depleted roster — none of OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. or Khem Birch played Sunday or practised Monday — the Raptors are only going succeed with consistent hard work. They are offensively challenged and the vagaries of shotmaking are likely to work against them with this group so consistent effort and intensity is non-negotiable.

It’s the only way they’re going to win games against the majority of NBA teams. Next up are the Memphis Grizzlies, without star Ja Morant, in town Tuesday night.

If Nurse isn’t getting that from a couple or three guys, he’s going to move to the next group. It’s not a new philosophy but it’s now more necessary than ever given the injury situation.

“They’re gonna be in there and we’re counting on them and they’ve got to deliver,” Nurse said. “It’s not pressure to deliver to make shots, it’s pressure to go out there and just lose yourself in the hard play of the game and competing.

“And if some shots come your way and you stick ’em? Man, awesome, you’re going to have a great game. But it’s making sure that whatever it is you do individually, you’re ready to execute our team stuff first and to do it really hard as an individual.”

The galling part is that some of the players don’t seem to grasp it.

“I don’t think they fully understand it because they don’t do it each night,” Nurse added.

“But it’s a big teaching point. It’s not footwork, and it’s not form shooting and it’s not defensive slides. It’s a mentality of being ready to play in this league.”


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

Source link

Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.