After a month of scouring the world for a new head coach to succeed Dwane Casey, the Toronto Raptors ultimately settled on promoting Casey's assistant Nick Nurse.
The promotion of Nurse was made official on Thursday, as he was introduced to the press alongside Raptors president Masai Ujiri. As expected, most of the questions they faced centered around their trend of underperforming in the playoffs, to which Nurse offered a few solutions.
For one, Nurse wants to use the regular season and the preseason to prepare various defensive schemes so that his team could be better prepared for different matchups in the postseason.
"We need to make sure we try a few new things, here or there. Try some different rotations. I think where you'll see most of that will be more creative on the defensive end in the regular season and preseason, just so we can try to be ready for more things in the playoffs," Nurse said.
"I think the playoffs change of so much of what happens defensively. The games come at you so fast in the regular season that everyone's playing their baseline philosophies, and come time for the playoffs, all of a sudden you're trying to do some things that you haven't practiced enough."
Nurse drew rave reviews for modernizing the Raptors' offense, which saw significant upticks in assists, 3-point shooting, and pace after largely relying on isolation and simple pick-and-roll sets in previous seasons. Their changes on offense helped the Raptors post their highest playoff offensive rating over the past five runs.
However, problems arose for the Raptors on defense, where they dropped from a top-five defensive club in the regular season to the third-worst mark in the playoffs ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers, who combined to win just one game.
Given that he was an assistant under Casey, Nurse was also asked how he would bring fresh ideas to an otherwise static roster. He used the opportunity to distance himself from the previous regime.
"Assistant coaches have a lot of ideas. I really tried for the entirety of my time here to always give the best options and then it's up to him to decide what to do," Nurse said.
"I think we could have played better, we could have coached better, and that's what we're going to do next year," he added.