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Nick Nurse talks Fred VanVleet's All-Star case after win over Spurs

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"We know what he brings. He brings winning and leadership, scoring, great defender. So he's gotta be in consideration." Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.

Video Transcript

- Was that something you-- you sort of mentioned that I think in the press about getting other guys and letting him play off the ball. Is that something you wanted to focus on because his numbers are-- I think he's like leading the league in catch and shoot 3's this season?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, I just think that, again, he's such a good shooter. We've known that, right? It's one of the benefits. When you have Kyle and Fred, is one of them would be off the ball. So one of them could space when the other one is bringing it. So I think it follows on from that a little bit.

But again, I like the ability of those guys getting it quick. They rebound. Pascal will rebound and be out with it quick. Scottie, he'll rebound, be out with it quick. There's so many advantages. A lot of them, first and foremost, those guys are taking it to the basket in transition. I think that's where Pascal started doing it. A couple of years ago, it was good for that. So there's lots of positives with it. And again, it keeps him rebounding too.

- What's a point guard in today's game?

NICK NURSE: What is it? Well, I mean, there's still a lot of things-- the general overall leadership and organizing the team and all those kind of things that position commands or you must command out of that position as well. So it's not like we're totally point guardless from that standpoint. Because I think even, again, when Kyle and Fred were doing it, they were both-- even when they weren't on the ball, they were still organizers. And I still think Fred's the main leader with that, even though he's not necessarily bringing the ball up the floor.

- We know there are some circumstances with guys missing out from opposing teams and even your own team, but does it feel like everybody's finding or filling the role that they're supposed to feel right now? Do you see Chris coming off the bench doing what he's doing?

NICK NURSE: Chris had a good game. Yeah. I mean, again, I think there's certain guys that are energy guys. Like you look coming off the bench, it's one of the things. Yuta, I almost always like having him come off the bench. He's going to bring some speed. That's Justin, Chris, those guys. It's been nice actually too. I think Cam gives us a totally different look coming off the bench as well. I thought, again, he had a great impact on the game. Just he made a basket.

But he seemed like to be plugging everything, knocking the ball away, changing shots, keeping balls alive at the other end, four offensive rebounds, really good passing as well. So there's some guy, I thought a bunch of those guys provided sparks. And again, Chris gets four points, but he played great. And I thought he really impacted the game tonight.

- I know we've talked about this over the last few days. If and when people call you about Fred's All-Star candidacy, what would you tell him about what he does?

NICK NURSE: Well, I mean, again, I think he's got to be in the conversation. But I also, again, say the same thing. We got to climb the standing, so I just think that's part of it. I just think it's part of it. And if we do, then he certainly will deserve it. He's been out there most of the games this year, right? That's another big thing. There's been a lot of guys missing big chunks of time on a lot of teams. But I think he's right in there. We know what he brings. He brings winning and leadership. And he's scoring and great defender. So he's got to be in consideration.


NICK NURSE: Yeah. I think so. I mean, I think that's where we start. I mean, I haven't given it one. Man, I've given it two thoughts before the game and after since you guys have asked me. But I haven't really given-- maybe three. I think I was driving down the road today. And I saw a vote for Pascal billboard somewhere along the line. So we'll get to it when it comes a little closer.

- Do you watch Scottie? I think for a little bit longer than the other starters, did you want to get him?

NICK NURSE: Well, I tried to get him at that one. So when


NICK NURSE: I saw that he had 7, 7 and 7, or something like that at one point. But not, it didn't really make much of a push to try to get him out about three minutes earlier. And I guess the sub wasn't there quick enough.

- A couple more for you, folks.


- I'll go to Doug first.


DOUG SMITH: Oh, Nick. How are you?

NICK NURSE: Good, Doug. You missed a thriller tonight. Where are you?

DOUG SMITH: I'm all protocol-ed up.


DOUG SMITH: I got [? a bug ?] on Monday.

NICK NURSE: All right.

DOUG SMITH: Before the game, you weren't sure who the ninth guy would be. And it turned out to be Justin, who came in and gave you pretty much everything you want a guy to give you in that role. Can you sort of speak to his ability like Yuta to make stuff happen when he gets in a game for however many minutes he gets to play?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, first and foremost, he chases it on the glass. He's got a nose for the loose ball. He's got a nose for the rebound. So that's the first thing. And he's been working really, really hard on his catch and shoot, because we figure the ball is going to find him out there. And it was really nice to see him get hot from out there, because he's been working really hard. Our coaches have been. He's coming in early, staying late. He's got a chance to fill in a role there for us. And he's going to get some opportunities like tonight. So it was nice to see him cash in on.

DOUG SMITH: Obviously, he's not going to get-- he hasn't had any opportunity with the 905, because they haven't played. And then, he was out as well. Is the practice time in the shooting lab and with the coaches, that's the vital developmental period for him now?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, I'd like to. I mean, I probably would say coming off of tonight, Doug, he's probably going to be that rotational guy there at that position. With Yuta, Svi, Scott, he can fill in there. I would imagine he'll get that here for a little while. So that'll be super valuable for him.

And again, we don't expect him to hit four straight 3's every night. But we will expect him to get a tip in or keep the ball alive. I think he made a big offensive rebound into the first half. That got us another 3. I think another one is for Freddy. He came flying along the baseline. It ended up in Freddy's hands eventually for another 3. So as long as he keeps doing that stuff and guarding his position defensively, he'll have a good impact in that. It's a small spot, but it's an important one.

DOUG SMITH: Great. Thanks very much. Safe trip to Milwaukee, sir.

NICK NURSE: Thanks, Doug.

- Josh.

- Hey, Nick. I wanted to ask you about Pascal's rebounding. You mentioned it earlier. It's three really good rebounding games in a row for him. We asked him about it a few days ago. And he said that one of the things is just being healthy, having fresh legs, and being able to do it physically. Is there anything else that you're seeing that he's doing differently? And how much are you guys emphasizing crashing the glass for him with the small lineup?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I think that he is going after them a little bit more assertively, Josh. I think that there's times when maybe we've got it maybe secured, but he makes sure he's the one that goes and gets it. And he's not letting much chance to go there. So he's battling to go get them, which is him being more assertive, I think, to snap him out of there.

And again, it's leading to him bringing the ball more, which is great. And again, I just like those kind of couple of things that he's doing. He's hitting the glass, pushing it. And I think his passing has been really noticeable in a good sense lately too. So some good stuff, some good non-scoring things he's doing there.

- Great. Thanks, Nick. Have a good night.

NICK NURSE: OK, Josh. Thank you. Michael, do you got anything?

- Can we ask about Josh Primo?


- You said before the game, he got a chance to train with the national field a little bit at time. Obviously, a big statement there. What did you think about it?

NICK NURSE: Well, he really shoots it pure, man. He's really a catch and shoot guy. He got a good body. And he moves really well. Really, he's a good dude. He really wants to play for Canada. He made that pretty well known, which is great. I mean, I think we certainly have him in the fold at some point. And it's good to see another good sized shooter coming along.

- What are the language that really affect him?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. He's going to. I think, again, they're using him well. And he looks like he's finding his way nicely. I think he shoots it with confidence. I really like one of the drives he made in there. He got composed in the lane and flipped one in there as well. So yeah, I'm sure he's going to learn a lot there as well.

- I appreciate it.

NICK NURSE: OK. All right, everybody, see you. Yeah. See you. Thank you.

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