TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 25: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors talks to head coach Nick Nurse during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks in game six of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Scotiabank Arena on May 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

The Sixers have a new head coach. Doc Rivers is out. Nick Nurse is in. Sixers fans have had two up-close looks at Nick Nurse in the playoffs during his time with the Raptors. In 2019 we saw his schemes confound Joel Embiid. He threw all types of double teams that had Joel Embiid struggling badly to find his rhythm. It was Kawhi Leanord’s bouncing shot that put the nail in the coffin for the Sixers that year. But it was also Nick Nurse whose scheme had the Sixers so out of sorts. We later saw him in the 2022 playoffs. Although that time his team had a lot less talent. Still, we saw his team force a game 6 after the Sixers took a 3-0 lead. So his coaching style was still fairly annoying for us.

Now we are going to see a lot more of him. He becomes the 3rd coach of the Process era. Neither Brett Brown nor Doc Rivers could get them out of the 2nd round, let alone to the Finals. Nick Nurse gets the 3rd try at it. He joins a team that has the reigning MVP in Joel Embiid but has had many issues beyond that. And even with Embiid, we saw him struggle in the final game vs the Celtics, so there is work to be done there too.

So what should we expect from him? Who better to ask than one of his former players? His PG for much of his time in Toronto spoke about Nick Nurse on Stadium’s Inside the Association Show. He gave his thoughts on the Sixers hiring Nurse, how he thinks he will fit, his appreciation for Nurse as a coach, and more. See all of what Fred VanVleet had to say about Nick Nurse below.

[Source: Stadium]

  • On What Nick Nurse Brings as a Coach

    “It’s just a different voice that they haven’t heard before. Something outside the box. He’s going to bring new ideas, creative ideas. It’ll be a great breath of fresh air for them. Anytime you’re changing head coaches, that’s pretty much what you’re looking for, is a new identity, new voice for guys to kind of rally behind.”

    The one thing everyone seems to say about Nick Nurse is that he is a great X and O guy. Sixers fans have had a lot of issues with both Brett Brown and Doc Rivers seemingly not having much of a plan. We have seen way too much standing around. Both those coaches did certain things well. But the scheme was not one of those things. In Nurse, they now have someone who brings fresh ideas. And hearing VanVleet echo that, is certainly promising.


  • On Nick Nurse's Fit With Joel Embiid

    “I think coming down the stretch, they pretty much had to get Joel on board. Once they got that, once Nick met with Joel, as long as he’s signing off on all the crazy stuff that Coach wants to do, I think that they’ll be in a good spot.”

    Daryl Morey made it clear that the players would not have a say in who the next coach is. But he also said they had to find someone who fits with the players they have. Namely with Joel Embiid. Embiid and Nurse apparently did meet. And as VanVleet put it, if Joel Embiid buys into the “crazy stuff” Nurse likes to run, it should be a nice change of pace for the Sixers team.

  • Is Happy For Nick Nurse

    “I’m happy that he landed on his feet. Our situation was our situation this year and coming down the stretch, they decided to go different ways, but I’m just happy that he landed on his feet. Good to see him back with another job.”

    We saw with Doc Rivers, his former players were pretty happy to see him go. Doc did not get along well with Paul George, or with many of the Clippers players apparently. That does not seem to be the case with Nick Nurse. At least Fred VanVleet seems to be sad to see him go. Having your players like you is just part of the battle to be a good coach. Joel Embiid reportedly liked Doc Rivers, and that did not prevent things from going sideways. But it is good to see that his former players are still fond of Nurse.

    Can we blame him too much for the Raptors the past few years? They went from a very talented team to an average team following that Finals win. He still had them as a competitive team following Kawhi leaving. But after a while, it was just hard to compete with Pascal Siakim as the best player on the team. He will get another chance to coach an elite talent this year.

  • Calls Him One of the Best Coaches in the NBA

    “He’s definitely a different guy but certainly one of the top coaches in the NBA and we saw that with us winning a championship.”

    Pretty high praise from VanVleet. Was Kawhi the biggest reason they won that year? Probably? But at least for VanVleet, he gives Nurse a ton of credit. And from the outside, it was easy to see how his coaching helped push them over the top. The only question is will he bring the same thing for the Sixers? I guess we will find out.

  • On If Any Sixers Players Have Called Him to Get Insight into Nick Nurse

    “I haven’t gotten those calls yet, but they might be calling after training camp trying to figure out how to read him… That bond that we have, that is a lifelong thing.”

    Just more praise from VanVleet for Nurse. It certainly feels like the two of them were close. Could a reunion be in store? VanVleet is going into the final year of his deal and has a player option. But do they have enough money to bring a player like VanVleet in? Morey is going to have to be creative this offseason. But given how much VanVleet seems to like Nick Nurse, it is certainly something to keep an eye on.

  • Thinks The Sixers will Have Success, he Just Hopes Not Too Much

    “I think he’ll have some success. Hopefully, not too much. If I’m not there and I’m staying in Toronto, then we want them to fail.”

    As for him saying he hopes the Sixers don’t do too well, fair enough. It would be pretty weird for a player on another team to root for the Sixers. it does sound like he genuinely wants to see Nurse succeed though. Notice he said if I’m not there though. Meaning it is on his mind he could be there. Again, just something to think about.

  • You can Listen to Fred VanVleet's Thoughts Below

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