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The Rundown w/T-Money

The Rundown v04.12.23 – Nurse Writing Own Prescription, Daigneault Making His Mark

A couple of weeks ago, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse intimated that he will take time after the 2022-23 season ends to reflect on his future with the team.

That went largely unnoticed, except for those in Toronto and those who are fans and followers of Nurse on social media and in coaching circles.

Having been in Toronto his entire NBA coaching career – as an assistant for five seasons under Dwane Casey and as the head coach for the past five – Nurse has a .582 coaching record when he’s running the ship.

In his first season, he guided the Raptors to the franchise’s first and only NBA championship, after posting a 58-24 record behind Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, and O.G. Anunoby.

The Raptors would lose Leonard to free agency, yet carry that Nurse mentality and momentum into a .736 record in the shortened COVID season with Fred VanVleet maturing before our very eyes, and Chris Boucher adding his talents and strengths to the effort.

Post-COVID, in another shortened 72-game season, the rebuild-on-the-fly resulted in a .375 season in 2020-21 and losing Lowry after that season, then .585 in 2021-22, and an even 41-41 this season, which would wear on anyone. 

But Nurse has to realize that this group – despite the defections and trades – have no quit in them.

So why does he?

Not saying Nurse walks away from Toronto. If he were to have done it, it should have been last summer to the Los Angeles Lakers, in my humble opinion. Darvin Ham’s inexperience showed where Nurse would have provided championship leadership.

But if he does, he would be a nice fit with all the young talent in Houston, replacing Casey again (this time with the talent in the Motor City), or a solid replacement in Portland, if they part ways with Chauncey Billups, which I believe they will do.


I’d write my own prescription to Houston as I don’t expect Damian Lillard to be there if the Miami Heat continue to fold under the pressure of the Chicago Bulls or Nurse’s Raptors.

Chicago Bulls @ Toronto Raptors 7:00 p.m. ESPN
ScotiaBank Arena – Toronto, Ontario PROJECTED WINNER: Chicago Bulls


One coach you don’t hear a lot about is Oklahoma City Thunder head coach, Mark Daigneault, who took over for the deposed Billy Donovan at the onset of the 2020-21 season.

The Thunder, seemingly armed with more in general manager Sam Presti’s back pocket draft pick stash than the talent on the floor, have quietly built themselves into a play-in threat in Daigneault’s third season at the helm, more than people realize.

While it might seem that it would wear on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to shoulder the responsibility of the marquee player for Oklahoma City, he has performed admirably, even becoming an NBA All-Star this season, while putting up 31.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assist this season, all above his career average.

The Thunder inked Gilgeous-Alexander to a contract extension in August of 2021, demonstrating their intent for him to be the team’s leader and focal point.

They’ve also put a nice young core around him with shooting guards Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams, power forwards Kenrich Williams and Jaylin Williams, and the promise that Aleksej Pokusevski bulks up and last year’s draft pick Chet Holmgren bounces back successfully from his Lisfranc injury.

Though his record isn’t near as nice as Nurse’s, Daigneault and the Thunder have progressively gotten better in each of his three seasons.

And he’s been allowed to put his mark on the team.

Too bad they’re running into the buzz saw that is Brandon Ingram, C.J. McCollum, Jonas Valanciunas, and Grand Theft (Jose) Alvarado tonight.

Something to have takeaways from for 2023-24.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ New Orleans Pelicans 930 p.m. ESPN
Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, Louisiana PROJECTED WINNER: New Orleans Pelicans


Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for
He has written the NBA, done NBA Radio, and appeared as a guest for the last 21+ years for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show,, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 21 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (CBA, G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta. 

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia  


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