For the second time of his career, Nick Nurse has been named one of the NBA’s coaches of the month. He has passed Sam Mitchell (1x) and Lenny Wilkens (1x as a Raptor) with the most awards, and he trails only Dwane Casey (x5). Joining Nurse this month from the Western Conference will be Frank Vogel, whose Los Angeles Lakers sit at 17-2 with the best record in the NBA after October and November.
After winning a championship in his rookie year, Nurse has only improved as a sophomore. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, the Toronto Raptors are 15-4 after 19 games, just like the 2018-19 Raptors. Nurse has consistently employed unique schemes throughout the year. He turned Rudy Gobert’s defensive strengths into a weakness as the Raptors whooped the Jazz. He adapted the offense to take quick shots after few passes against the Philadelphia 76ers. He has empowered his players to consistently outscore opponents at the end of quarters. All the while, the Raptors keeps winning, and that’s despite losing Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Pat McCaw, Dewan Hernandez, Stanley Johnson, and Matt Thomas to injury.
This year, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and others have all shown huge improvement to their games, and Nurse has to also be given some credit for that.
In his first 100 games as a Head Coach in the NBA, Nurse went 72-28 with a championship. He’s one of only five coaches in NBA history to reach 70 wins and championship in his first 100 games, joining Steve Kerr, Johnny Kundla, Pat Riley, and Paul Westhead. Nurse keeps winning awards as the Raptors keep winning games. As long as the Raptors keep winning, Nurse will keep gaining more and more recognition. This may be his first coach of the month award, but he’ll have plenty more awards in store this year. Thus far through the season, he must be a leader for the Coach of the Year award.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that this was Nick Nurse’s first coach of the month award.