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#pounditTuesday, December 7, 2021

Nick Nurse pushes back at suggestion that Raptors are tanking

Nick Nurse

Less than two years after winning an NBA title, the Toronto Raptors seem to be going in the exact opposite direction. Head coach Nick Nurse insists that is by no means intentional however.

Addressing reporters on Sunday, Nurse pushed back at the suggestion that the 19-30 Raptors are tanking for a high draft pick.

“I don’t like it,” said Nurse of tanking, per SI’s Aaron Rose. “We’re still playing to win and we’re still playing to make the playoffs.”

Toronto’s front office seems to be embracing the tank though. They traded away Norman Powell, a core player of the last several years, at the deadline. The Raptors came close to trading franchise mainstay Kyle Lowry as well and made no meaningful improvements otherwise on the trade market.

That said, Nurse and the players may not have gotten the memo. The team just set a franchise record this week with a 53-point drubbing of the Golden State Warriors. They are also still just 1.5 games behind the No. 10 seed in the East, which is the cutoff for next month’s play-in tournament.

Sure, Nurse has had to deal with his fair share of turmoil this year. But the 2020 Coach of the Year will not become a tank commander any time soon.

Photo: Nick Barden/Wikimedia via cc-by-sa 4.0

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