Nick Nurse's decision to take the Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coaching job after leading the Iowa Energy to the D-League championship last season was a bit perplexing at first glance. The only coach in the history of the Iowa franchise explained his decision to the local newspaper on Monday, however, making a lot of sense in the process.
"It was a chance to grow. I did about as much as I could do (in Iowa)," Nurse told the Des Moines Register. "I don't devalue the 50 or 60 games a year that I coached there. That's great experience. But a lot of times (NBA executives) will hire people they know a little better."
This is something I mentioned in the original story on Sunday and it's why the jobs with direct NBA affiliations are premium in the D-League coaching circles. It's likely part of the reason Eric Musselman made a similar move from the Reno Bighorns to the Los Angeles D-Fenders as well as the reason Bob MacKinnon's new job as head coach of the Springfield Armor, a team that has won just 20 of their 100 games in franchise history, was one of the most coveted positions available this summer.
Like Chris Finch before him, Nurse saw the opportunity to coach the Houston Rockets ran Vipers as a step closer to an NBA bench.
"I was really impressed with the Rockets organization and how they have a proven track record with Finch, of putting him in here and bringing him up," Nurse told the Register. My goal every year is to grow as a coach, and I thought this was a great place to do that."
And, y'know, the chance to work closer with an NBA franchise was probably a decent perk as well.