Between COVID-19, injuries, playing in Tampa, and a lackluster 2020 offseason, the Toronto Raptors have plenty of excuses for what's been an extremely disappointing season.
For many teams, a 25-35 record would raise some questions about the long-term viability of the head coach. For the Raptors, however, that hasn't been the case for Nick Nurse. By and large, very few people have looked at Toronto's situation this season and blamed the reigning NBA Coach of the Year.
It's why Nurse still ranks among the league's best coaches, according to Nate Duncan and John Hollinger.
"Last year, I had Nick Nurse in tier one slot number one by himself. I still have him number one now," Duncan said on the Duncan & Hollinger NBA Show. "I thought last year in the playoffs he did a totally good job. Again, he caused some problems for Boston and I'm just not going to penalize him for this crazy year.
"I think Nick Nurse would probably still be my number one as far as a playoff series. He did have a few late-game foibles in that Boston series, but overall I think he had a pretty good strategy, he liked to mix things up, he is probably the least orthodox and most unafraid coach out there."
That unorthodoxy has been Nurse's calling card since he took over the Raptors in 2019. He's implemented one of the NBA's most aggressive defensive schemes that is totally changed on a nightly basis to cater to the opposition's strengths.
While Toronto hasn't found very much success with its back-of-the-bench players this season as it has in years past, it's going to take at least one more down year before anyone knocks Nurse out of that top tier of NBA coaches.