Did the Raptors' long, athletic player-type vision work?

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses what the franchise learned about their unique vision on the season, where tweaks need to be made and whether or not it is sustainable in today's NBA. Full availability is on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube.

Video Transcript


NICK NURSE: Well, I mean, listen, we, each year, Doug, are going to have to coach to what the roster kind of shapes into being. And sometimes you're not quite sure, when there's a lot of new faces and all that kind of stuff, what it's going to shape into.

We kind of-- maybe not as funky as it turned out. But we knew-- we knew we were kind of going with this length and deflections and offensive rebounding and switching defense and multiple defense. We kind of saw that as the vision for the season.

Like I said, it got a little funkier, only maybe because they were able to do more interesting, different, unique things, right, as they went. And again, that's a credit to them. Like I said, it was-- early on, I wasn't sure what they were going to be able to comprehend, and then, all of the sudden, things started sinking in really good and we were able to execute a lot of stuff.

So I don't know. That's who we were this year. We'll see what we look like next year and how that kind of transforms as the year goes on.

- Is it fun, as a coach, to do that, to get challenge of something-- Randy is relatively new to you guys. I mean, it's a brand new roster.

NICK NURSE: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I think you got to, again, see what it looks like. And you kind of got to dream it out one way and-- with a couple plan Bs and Cs and Ds, maybe. But, I mean, I think we did a good job of maximizing kind of what we had, and did it in a unique way which I thought was kind of fun to watch.

- A second question. When Fred was talking to us the other day, he said, what you guys did this year was really successful, but what you guys do best is when you have a lot of different things in the tool box, and-- so you could play-- like, ideally you would play this long, athletic being everywhere at once style sometimes, but then you could go big or small. Do you like to see the roster have a bit more-- not versatility-- but a bit more different type pieces rather than--

NICK NURSE: Different sizes, instead of everybody the same? Is that what you mean? Different size guys? And little fast guys?

Not really. I mean, what I would say is I really like the-- I really like the length and all that stuff. And what I would say is we need to get those guys more versatile, right? We need bigger guys that can guard smaller guys and bigger guys, or schemes that can guard bigger guys when there's an extreme at either end, right? That's what I would say.

- Nick, when we were talking to Fred the other day, he was saying that he's got to spend the offseason looking at different ways of managing his body to sort of pace himself a little bit better over the course of a long season, a long grueling season. Do you guys think you need to do anything differently to manage his minutes and workload to accomplish the same thing?

I know, at this stage of Kyle's career--


- --there are different things that you guys can do.

NICK NURSE: Yeah, he probably got there a little sooner than Kyle to get into the stage of career. I don't know if he's quite at that point yet. But, yeah-- listen, he's a competitive guy. He likes to play. We played him a lot of minutes this year, for sure.

I think we're probably on the upper end of that. Trimming that a little bit here and there would probably be advisable, for sure, as we did with Kyle. It's always easier said than done, right?

But just-- usually, it was always easier to manage it in the first half so that the first halves don't end up at 21, 22, because when you get to there, it gets hard to keep those things down around 35, 36, which is probably where we want to be, rather than the upper 30s the way it ends up.

- And in terms of workflow, the trajectory of Pascal and Scottie--


- Taking the pressure off him as the primary ball handler, do you see that sort of helping him?

NICK NURSE: Certainly. I think we kind of got forced into that, right? And now we know it-- probably as a certainty-- that we can do that. So we certainly will be more comfortable doing that, I think, from the get-go next year.

- Do you need more of a rim threat [INAUDIBLE]? Do you need more shooting--


- [INAUDIBLE]. And, from your point of view, what's the [INAUDIBLE]?

NICK NURSE: Well, for me-- you guys have heard me say this before, but the more quality players you have, the better chances you're going to have to win. And I think it becomes-- I said this early in the year, that you can't go into a season with eight, nine guys anymore. You can't.

There's COVID that knocks a bunch of guys out, and ever-prevalent injuries seem to be way more-- frequent than I can remember, even in my-- when I first got here. Not us. Just around the league. You know, everywhere you turn-- every time you turn around, there's like like-- every game all year long, there were two starters missing from every team. And I just don't remember that being the case, like, five years ago.

So whatever the reason that is-- that means you're nine 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 guys better be able to go out there and play, not just look like it once in a while, right? I mean, they got to be players. So that would be my first thing, is we got to get some depth just to keep up with the sign of the times, right? And we could probably use a little catch and shoot.

Again, I'm still after some more wing players, some more athletic wing players so we can continue to come at you in the style of play we want to come at you with.

- Do you have a lot [INAUDIBLE] on the roster that [INAUDIBLE]?

NICK NURSE: Not really. No. Not really. That would help. That would help, too. I think that probably leaves a little bit of pressure for guys like Fred and Gary, I guess, another OG-- those guys that could get, probably, more open corner looks because of the pressure being put on the rim on the weak side.

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