Nick Nurse Calls Out Raptors’ New Additions

In the wake of the departures of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Los Angeles, the Raptors signed free agents Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson, hoping the veteran forwards would provide the team with above-average defense — even if they don’t score like Leonard and Green.

However, asked today if the presence of Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson is helping to solidify Toronto’s defense this fall, head coach Nick Nurse didn’t hold back in disputing that notion, as Eric Koreen of The Athletic and Josh Lewenberg of relay.

“Nope. Nope. Nope. Those guys have not understood, a.) how hard we play, b.), our schemes, that defense is a priority for them, etc.,” Nurse said. “We’ve got some work to do with all that crew.

“I tell them there (are) a couple spots, come Tuesday night, there (are) a couple spots that are open if somebody wants them. ‘I keep telling you, show me you’re going to play defense. Show me you’re going to play hard. Show me you understand our coverages. Show me. And then, whatever you do at the other end, you’re going to get opportunities just because of who you’re on the floor with.'”

As Lewenberg notes (via Twitter), the eight players who are viewed as locks to open the regular season in the Raptors’ rotation were all on last year’s roster. Since Toronto will likely play a 10-man rotation, that leaves a couple spots up for grabs.

Returning youngsters like Malcolm Miller and Chris Boucher may be candidates for those spots if Nurse doesn’t trust Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson, as Lewenberg points out (Twitter link). We’ll see how the veterans respond to Nurse’s criticism in Toronto’s final game of the preseason on Friday vs. Brooklyn.

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13 thoughts on “Nick Nurse Calls Out Raptors’ New Additions

  1. Theone23

    Love it. Those 2 bums were brought in to a championship team, strictly to play defense. Not only should they be thanking their lucky stars that they are getting another NBA opportunity, but also to be given that opportunity by a first class, championship organization like the Raptors. And what do they do? Come in, not hustle, not play well on D. If the Raps have any chance to repeat this year, it will be because of defense. Glad nurse called these losers out, and if they don’t pick it up, good riddance. I guess we’re now seeing why both these players have pretty much wasted their enormous talents and upside. If a first rate organization like the Toronto Raptors can’t get the best out of them, nobody will. Next stop, Europe.

    • 123Redsox

      Both have Been above average defenders their entire careers but have floated around Becuase of offense. Toronto won 1 championship Becuase they had Kawhi (a superstar) and 2 of the best role players in the league in green and siakam. They aren’t real contenders any more. No superstars = fake contenders.

      • Archie M.

        With the way he played last season and with the high expectations this coming season, I don’t think Siakam can be considered a “role player” anymore. He might as well be the new cornerstone of the new era of Raptors basketball.

    • ColossusOfClout

      The Raps are in trouble this season. They’re going penthouse to outhouse.

  2. Tazza

    Seems abit harsh really. If I was either of RHJ or Johnson I would kind of be annoyed. Yes they were taken into the current champions but everyone knows they aren’t the same team and no way will they go back to back without Kawhi and Green there. I haven’t watched their preseason games so idk how these two have played on defence but obviously you have to play defence and if they aren’t I can understand nurses frustration.
    If they are trying to adjust to a new team and are struggling why would you blast them that won’t help.
    End of the days tho they have deals for dirt cheap and should be expected to be Kawhi and Green.

    I know they have a good enough team to make the playoffs again this year but it’s so sustainable. Lowry is on the books for 2 years, Siakim needs and extension, Ibaka and Gasol are on expiring deals, FVV needs an upgrade and so on.They should look ahead for some young players and build around Siakim being the main piece.

    Maybe swap Lowry for Wiggins and a first rounder, or Ibaka and Powell for Wiggins and an first.
    Maybe try get Mo Bamba, he’s got loads of potential and is stuck behind Vuce.
    Maybe try get in Jerome Robinson, he was a high draft pick and looks alright, hasn’t had much game time and is behind a few players.

    I don’t know how you’d do these deals but if you got them done, you surrender winning some games but maybe you just make the playoffs but at least you know you’ve got something you can build with.
    FVV Robinson Wiggins Siakim Bamba that could be the future, I know there is no future with Lowry, Gasol and Ibaka tho.

  3. phillyballers

    Lol these guys are 6th or 7th guys off the bench their entire career. Making 6m combined. Replacement players are available Nick… called the G League go get a couple scrubs to play ‘defense’s.

  4. greg1

    Looks like some residual Raptors haters on the thread.

    Raptors are a championship organization with high expectations of their players. The Spurs, who haven’t won a title in five years are also a championship organization. Whether the Raptors repeat, or more likely not, a championship organization has higher expectations of their players.

    These two players have been above average defenders, on bad teams. Every team needs to have a best defender, scorer, rebounder, etc., whether they win 20 or 60 games. Guys who can’t get second contracts on non playoff teams likely don’t bring enough to just walk into a championship organization and play the way they have to that point.

  5. MDBigGame

    Big bad Nuck Nurse. Kawhi draga him to Championship, now he feels he has the right to bully and blame two minimum salary,newcomers, to reporters to make himself look good, because he knows whats about to happen. He must have learned from Rick Carlisle.

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