Nick Nurse to Join Joel Embiid and the 76ers

Edgar Chaput | Updated May 30, 2023

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors

Reports coming out of Philadelphia on Monday are that the 76ers have found their coach. Former Raptors leader Nick Nurse will be joining them.

As is so often the case, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski comes to the rescue with breaking NBA news. Late Monday afternoon, the publication made it known that Nick Nurse, who was let go by Toronto in April, will be coaching the Philadelphia 76ers next season.

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Nick Nurse to Coach the Philadelphia 76ers

The pairing of Nurse and the 76ers is an intriguing one, to be sure. For one, he made certain that his former club, the Raptors, became one of the stingiest defensive units in the entire league. They were fifth in points conceded per game, first in steals executed and, get this, topped the NBA in being the least victimized by steals. The 76ers were no slouches themselves on defence, finishing third in points allowed per tilt.

Second, Nurse and 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey have worked together in the past. It was in 2011 when Morey hired Nurse to coach the Houston Rockets G-League team.

Third, and probably the most obvious point, is that he’d be guiding reigning MVP Joel Embiid, burgeoning start Tyrese Maxey, and possibly James Harden should Philly retain him – Harden is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason.

Readers will recall that Nurse’s name was mentioned as a candidate alongside both the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns in recent weeks.

The 76ers were a game away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001 but fell in Game 7 of the second round to the Boston Celtics. In fact, they’ve been bounced out of the second round of the playoffs three years in a year, each time in rather ignominious fashion. After the most recent defeat, the club fired coach Doc Rivers.

Nick Nurse spent five seasons as head coach of the Toronto Raptors and helped guide the franchise to its first-ever NBA championship in the 2018-2019 season.