According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Toronto Raptors will name Nick Nurse their next head coach following five years as an assistant. With Dwane Casey taking over as head coach of the Pistons, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of last year’s Raptors assistants joining him out of town. Should that happen, Coach Nurse will have some spots to fill.
ESPN Story on Toronto hiring Nick Nurse to become franchise's new head coach. https://t.co/ajNKEPwBjw— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 12, 2018
For the NBA G League champion and past Coach of the Year winner, it’s likely that he’ll have an easy choice to make early on. Former Phoenix Suns assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren is already working with the Raptors as advanced scout, and as it just so happens, he is one of Nurse’s best friends.
Before rising up as one the G League’s most promising coaching prospects while leading the Santa Cruz Warriors to The Finals, taking the Iowa Energy to the top of their division, and playing a key role in the development of the Bakersfield Jam’s rising stars, Bjorkgren served as an assistant coach on Coach Nurse’s championship winning team in Iowa. The two became close after serving in the trenches together, with Nurse even serving as a groomsman in Bjorkgren’s wedding party.
It’s clear that Bjorkgren has experienced success in his own right, but Nurse has played a role in his journey. It wouldn’t be surprising for the new Raptors’ head coach to call upon one of his longtime trusted allies to conquer this new challenge together.