Sixers Notes: Nurse, McDaniels, Maxey, Embiid, Melton

Making his return to Toronto tonight, Sixers coach Nick Nurse explained why he decided to leave after five years with the Raptors, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Nurse’s time with the organization included a championship in his first season, a Coach of the Year award and a 227-163 record. However, he hadn’t won a playoff series since 2020 and the team’s progress was stagnating.

“It felt like it was time from both sides,” Nurse told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It still feels that way to me, just looking around. I look at them play and they look like they’re playing great and I’m really enjoying coaching this team. So everybody is where they’re supposed to be.”

There were complaints in Toronto that Nurse was overplaying his starters and neglecting player development while pursuing every possible win, writes Michael Grange of Players were also unhappy with the level of communication, Grange adds, with some saying they learned about changes to their roles through the media instead of directly from Nurse.

Nurse was complimentary toward his former team at tonight’s press gathering, saying, “They look good to me. It’s a new coach, a new system and they’re going to need some growth time. But I think in general they seem like they’re playing really hard, they’re playing really well together, they seem really focused and they’re doing a lot of good things.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Jalen McDaniels got a much better offer when he decided to leave the Sixers and sign with the Raptors this summer, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). McDaniels landed a two-year, $9.2MM contract in Toronto, while Philadelphia was only offering a minimum-salary deal. “Yeah, I couldn’t do that, you know?” McDaniels said.
  • Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid have shown off a much crisper two-man game early in the season, observes Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports. With James Harden still out of action, the Maxey-Embiid connection has become the focus of Philadelphia’s offense, and Neubeck states that Maxey has become a noticeably better passer over the summer. Neubeck also wonders how much the Sixers’ front office really wants Harden to return, since it would bring a ball-dominant guard into an equation that’s working well without him.
  • P.J. Tucker and De’Anthony Melton appear “lost in the shuffle” in Nurse’s offense, Neubeck adds. While Tucker was expected to decline without Harden creating shots for him, Neubeck sees Melton’s slow start as a greater concern. He believes Melton has been miscast as a lead guard when Maxey is on the bench and suggests he would be more comfortable off the ball if the Sixers can sign a backup point guard.
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