Why Nick Nurse struggled to find his own rhythm again in Toronto

Many Toronto Raptors players have discussed how long it’s taken to get acclimated to life back in the city. Nick Nurse discussed during practice on Tuesday how relieving it is to find his own rhythm within his day to day schedule.

Video Transcript

NICK NURSE: How are we doing, everybody?

- Good. How are you?



NICK NURSE: No updates. They're out, and they're out for the foreseeable future.


NICK NURSE: I would imagine there is. Yeah. There's nothing-- they did an MRI, and there's nothing serious wrong with it. There's just something causing it to swell. There's no damage or whatever and being able to get that under control and keep it under control over an extended time here, so it just doesn't kind of keep going back and forth is the issue.


NICK NURSE: Well, I mean, I think that like there's a growth period. We kind of get things figured out. We get jostled pretty hard here by some injuries. We go through some discomfort, iron it out again. You know?

So I think that if we do get everybody back, there'll probably be another ironing out process and period, and then I think that, hopefully, yeah, I think that team could be all right. I mean, you know, I think I mean, you know, again, I don't think we're amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but we're looking more solid. Right? And that's to me, that's what we're trying to do. And if you get to solid, and then you get all your people back, then you're going to have a chance every time you step on the floor.


NICK NURSE: Possibly. I'll tell you what he does is he fits with what we're trying to do. Right? Like we ask, you know, these certain things, and he says, OK, I can do that, and he does them really hard. Right? He pressures the ball. He tries to get deflections. He understands.

He tries to execute exactly what we ask him to every time, and he's got some size and athleticism to complement that kind of mindset. So you know, I think he's-- it's kind of funny. Like he played really solid yesterday, and then he makes some plays too just with hustle. And I think it wouldn't really matter what game he's in, he just kind of does those same things. And he can play that role for us, and it's why we like him

- [INAUDIBLE] like the defensive side seems to be trending upwards since [INAUDIBLE] been with the Raptors [INAUDIBLE]

NICK NURSE: Well, hopefully. I mean, I think that we believe in it. Right? We believe in guarding, and we believe in playing both sides of the ball. And we believe in, you know, having some organization and schemes and roles on defense that you're supposed to do, and it's kind of a foundational place that we like to get to. It's better basketball.

- Outside of the obvious, in that he's obviously in better shape, [INAUDIBLE] what's the biggest difference you've seen in Pascal over the last few games [INAUDIBLE]? What is he doing [INAUDIBLE]?

NICK NURSE: Well, first of all, I just think you're right. There's some more conditioning levels that have increased. There's some more rhythm, just the speed of the game and you know, all those things that just seem to have settled in for him a little bit. But mostly, Josh, it's I just think that he's, you know, better conditioned right now. You know, his legs are under him a little more. He's able to, I think, again, be more solid on defense consistently, you know, but you know, stringing up lots of solid defensive possessions in a row.

That's to me the biggest thing, defense. The teams do have a really good tempo right now of what he's seeing and what he's doing, and I think that kind of probably goes along with just more games and more time. And again, you know, things are happening pretty fast out there. Right? And when you don't see that for several months, you know, or you're a rookie first time you come in the league, you're like, holy smokes, these guys are fast and big. You know? They're more than I'm used to, and it takes a little, you know, it takes a little, like the surroundings, getting used to and comfortable to your surroundings. Yeah.

- Nick, when you sent Malachi to play in the 905 yesterday, are there things are [INAUDIBLE]?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, again, for me, you know, we need some constant ball pressure from him. I think he's got to be an energy ball pressure guy, like all over the floor. When he hits the game, he should be picking up full court, and he should be trying to turn guys in the back court, and he should be trying to be a bit of a pest back there. He does a good job of-- he admittedly does a good job defensively making off-ball plays. It's kind of like his special.

Like he gets his hands on balls. He steals balls. He runs down loose balls. He's a playmaker off the ball. I just want him to be a little bit more of a disruptor on it.

And offensively, yes, I mean, right now, I'm trying to get him to hit the paint more, because he's really got some herky-jerk explosiveness first step stuff that he needs to use more and get to the paint for layups. Because you know, and then when those layups aren't there, he's got to find what is there or keep his dream alive and come out the other side, whatever. We just need more paint touches and collapse. I mean, you know what he can do.

He can come off and shoot the ball. Right? He can do that. So those are the things I'm trying to-- I think would help us more, and we need his shooting too. I mean, there's a lot of times I, you know, when the offense is going through some sputtering, we put him in. Hopefully, he's going to come off and make some shots and get it going, but those would be the things we ask him to work on.


NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, hopefully, he is. I think that he has-- one of the things I would compliment Pascal on is he has been very-- he's been very locked in on his practice days, his shootaround days, his individual film work, all those things that he's as a veteran player could probably let go at a little different level, and he's doing them at a high level right now. Really is, and I think he's trying to teach them that about trying to be a pro. And again, you know, Pascal is really trying hard to work his way into playing, you know, to his best at both ends, and he's getting there. So I just think that, yes, he's probably doing it as a leader, but I think, yes, he's probably doing it for himself as well, and that's good that Scotty picks up on it.

- [INAUDIBLE] you guys have played a dozen ball games so far [INAUDIBLE]

NICK NURSE: I tell you what, it's been a lot of it, other than-- you know, the crowds playing at home, all that stuff's been great. But I just kind of realized just this week, like this is the first time in like ages that I feel like I'm back in a rhythm. Like you know, I come to practice, go to work, go home. Play with the kids, put them to bed, and then get in front of my TV and start locking in on watching game.

You know, like it feels like I haven't been in front of my own TV at home in forever. Right? I just had like two days in a row that it's like been-- you know, it's like it just there's a comfort level of being prepared for me. So I'm sure the players feel the same a little bit. There's a rhythm that you really like and you get used to.

All the other stuff, you know, it's come on, it's light years better than playing in front of nobody on the road and playing in Tampa in front of nobody or playing in front of 3,000. Or you know, going to San Francisco last year, there was nobody in the streets at all. You know, like it's just so far away from all that stuff. It feels great.


NICK NURSE: Well, just being able to do it a couple nights in a row, like you know, really just, you know, a couple of times here where that's kind of my rhythm, and it finally got back. And I was just-- I don't know what made me think about it. I just was enjoying game surfing last night, and it seems like I haven't had much of a chance to do that for whatever reason in the environment that I'm used to.

- [INAUDIBLE] Saturday night [INAUDIBLE]

NICK NURSE: Big weekend, big weekend planned, Michael. I can't tell you right now, but it's a big weekend.


NICK NURSE: Pardon me?


NICK NURSE: Maybe. Maybe. I've searched for it a couple of times. I think it got away from me on one platform, but so I missed it, but I got some other things going, big weekend.

- Shae's kind of struggled to shoot a bit this year, but with this style and I think one of the more unique players [INAUDIBLE]

NICK NURSE: Yeah. You know, his speed and first step and blowing by people with the ball is really unique, really fast, really unique, really hard to keep him in front of you. He looks good. I'm glad to see them out there, back and playing and playing at a high level.

Him and Lou both are playing good. Shae finds Lou a lot too. They get a little good drive into the lane kick out thing going, and obviously, Lou does his thing defensively and hard play, and those guys both look really good.

- Why does Lou stand out so much for what he does [INAUDIBLE]



NICK NURSE: Man, I think there's a lot of it comes down to he's just playing so hard. You know, with his athleticism and his body build and his strength and tenacity, you know, just like I agree with you. It seems like every possession, you end up watching him. Right?

Like the spotlight goes right on him, and it's just I think that combination of things. And you know, I don't know, I think there's some people, you know, really enjoy watching guys give great effort. I think some people really enjoy watching guys play really tough defense, and if you're one of those people, then you end up watching them a lot.

- Thanks very much. [INAUDIBLE]

NICK NURSE: OK, everybody, see ya.

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