Nick Nurse is going from coaching Canada’s team to coaching Team Canada.
The Toronto Raptors head coach confirmed to reporters Sunday that he plans to spend the summer coaching the Canadian national team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, according to ESPN.
“I'm getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it's going to make me a better coach,” Nurse reportedly said. "It's something I'm looking forward to doing.”
Nurse will take over a team that failed to qualify for the last World Cup in 2014 under previous head coach Jay Triano.
This will be the Iowa-born Nurse’s second gig as a national team coach, having previously served as an assistant coach with Great Britain from 2009 to 2012 while also working as a G League coach.
Nurse might have just finished up his first year as an NBA coach, but his stock could already be at an all-time high after guiding the Raptors to their first-ever title. An NBA championship-winning coach would already be a decent get for Team Canada, but the man who’s already receiving a hero’s welcome in Toronto makes him a perfect fit as well.
Who will Nick Nurse be coaching for Team Canada?
The Canadian team won’t be as stacked as the U.S. team coached by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, but there should be plenty of NBA talent available.
Among the players available are Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins and Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson. There could be some young blood coming as well with Los Angeles Clippers point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Duke forward R.J. Barrett, who is projected to be the third overall pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Add in names like Indiana Pacers guard Cory Joseph, Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell and Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, and you have decent amount of potential depth.
The team will need all the help it will get though, as it landed in a competitive group at the World Cup that also includes Lithuania and Australia. Failing to advance past group play would be bad news for Canada’s Olympics chances as the country looks for its first berth since 2000.
Luckily, it appears the team got the best man available for the job.
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