The Raptor Report: The First Dance

Kawhi Leonard watches as his game winning ball goes in to clinch the series in Game 7as their Raptors defeatt the Philadelphia 76ers, in Toronto, Ont. on Sunday December 31, 2000. Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Michael Jordan said “Some people WANT it to happen, some WISH it would happen, and others MAKE it happen.” So how does that relate to Nick Nurse and the Raptors?


Nick Nurse: Triangle or Square

Before the Toronto Raptors became champions, Coach Nick Nurse was learning from MJ & Kobe’s Coach Phil Jackson. Coach Nurse travelled to Montana for a three-day session with Phil Jackson.

Coach Nurse was soaking in so much knowledge as he was driving around with Coach Jackson and says:

I’m just kind of sitting there with the windows down going, ‘Wow.’

Nick Nurse

Nick Nurse had the invite to learn from Phil Jackson, because of the relationship of Raptors Vice President of Health and Performance Alex McKechnie, as he worked for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2000s, when Jackson was coaching.

The innovation from Nick Nurse is absolutely incredible. He studied and learned the triangle offense from the 90’s Bulls championship teams. He used that offense in his other head coaching tenures, but with the Raptors he adjusted it. The game of basketball is vastly different today, then it was in the 1990s. After the championship the Toronto Raptors have won last season, the Raptors are without an NBA Superstar (Pascal Siakam is on pace to get there). If they wanted to remain competitive, they needed to make a change. Coach Nurse adjusted the triangle to look more like a square. Giving more spacing and opportunities for players to score.

Spaced-Out Square

As the season has been progressing, the Raptors spaced-out square offense has grown in efficiency. There are five Raptors averaging 16-plus points per game.

  • Pascal Siakim 23.6 ppg
  • Kyle Lowry 19.7 ppg
  • Fred VanVleet 17.6 ppg
  • Norman Powell 16.4 ppg
  • Serge Ibaka 16.0 ppg

The Raptors have adapted a scoring efficiency that is top 5 in the league (when healthy). Their growth in offensive efficiency from last years championship team to their current squad has been tremendous. For a team that has lost two starters, one of them being an all-world talent, to improve in every statistical category, is unheard of. Hats go-off to Coach Nick Nurse and to President Masai Ujiri for sustaining success.

Nick Nurse: The First Dance

The Raptors have showed the world that they are a franchise that has sustained success and reached the highest goal. This is only the start of the legacy for President Masai Ujiri and Coach Nick Nurse. The belief in the Raptors organization that they are not just a one-hit wonder.

They will build and continue to build on teams that are contenders. This season, the NBA media does not view the Raptors as legitimate contenders. They currently have the 3rd best record in the league and sit in second place in the East. The time-off will help the Raptors get healthy and prepare for the back-to-back championship run!

I believe the NBA season will return this year. Most likely, the season will be played out to reach minimum 70 games per team (as that would solidify the TV contract money) and the playoffs will be finished before September, 5th (the start of the NFL Season). The off-season would run until December where the new NBA Season will begin (and this will become the new norm). The NBA has been wanting to move away from competing with the NFL viewership for a long time and this is the perfect opportunity.

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LETS GO RAPTORS!

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