Nick Nurse has been named NBA Coach of the Year after an impressive second season with the Toronto Raptors.
The reigning NBA champions posted a 53-19 record in a shortened 2019-20 campaign despite the departure of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is now with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Toronto’s win percentage of .736 set a new franchise record, while they also triumphed in 15 straight games between January 15 and February 10, the longest streak in the team’s history.
The Raptors finished second in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks, posting a 7-1 record in the league’s Orlando bubble following the restart.
Nurse, who led the team to the title in his first year in the top job, is the third Toronto head coach to scoop the individual honour, following on from Dwane Casey (2017-18) and Sam Mitchell (2006-07).
“When you see Nick on the sidelines, that’s who he is as a person. Relaxed, but so hard-working. Creative and dynamic. Always setting the tone for our team – attacking our next championship, rather than defending our last,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said.
“That is who Nick is, that is why we believe in him. His journey to this tremendous honour has been a long one – we are so happy to see him recognised this way.”
— NBA (@NBA) August 22, 2020
A global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters voted for the award. Only games up until March 11, when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, were taken into consideration.
Toronto averaged 112.8 points per game and also excelled defensively, holding opponents to fewer than 100 points on 22 occasions.
The Canadian franchise have made a strong start in the defence of their championship in the postseason too, moving into a 3-0 lead against the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs.
Published 23 Aug 2020, 00:32 IST