Nick Nurse missing Raptors players


There was a nervousness to watching the Toronto Raptors last season. The fact that Kawhi Leonard was only under contract for the year and the Raptors had repeatedly failed to get over the hump in the playoffs all seemed to lead to one rather stressful 2018-19 campaign.

This year, however, that stress seemed to be gone for Raptors fans.

The 2019-20 Raptors seemed to be playing with house money. They were better than most prognosticators predicted thanks to major improvements across the roster. Few people expected Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and even the 30-year-old Serge Ibaka to all have career years. Terence Davis seemingly came out of nowhere and 34-year-old Kyle Lowry showed no signs of slowing down.

That's what made this year's Raptors so special, not just for the fans, but apparently for Nick Nurse too.

"It’s a really fun team to coach," Nurse reportedly told reporters on a conference call Friday afternoon. "I could coach these guys 12 months a year and keep on going. … It’s a true joy. They are missed. There’s no doubt about it."

Nurse reportedly said that the Raptors have all gone through repeated health checks and players talk to coaches every day to keep sharp on basketball related activities.

In the meantime, Nurse said he's been spending time with his children, playing guitar and planning to start learning Portuguese.

Aside from the Raptors, Nurse said he's still "100%" committed to coach Team Canada in 2021 should the qualifying games and Tokyo Olympics take place.

Nurse was named Canada’s men’s basketball coach on June 24, 2019, and the team was supposed to starts its qualifying tournament in two months in Victoria from June 23 to 28.