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Nick Nurse confident about Raptors, claims they remain ‘tough to beat’

Nick Nurse, Raptors

Even with the odds stacked against them, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse still has full confidence with his team.

After the departure of one-and-done reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers, most pundits have already been doubting the Raptors’ chances of repeating in the 2019-20 NBA season.

Some were even brazen enough to claim that the Canada-based squad won’t even reach the playoffs this year.

Nurse, however, has already tuned out the noise and declared that his squad has much of a chance as the other Eastern Conference contenders.

“It’s a good team.I don’t know how it will all shake out but I think it’s a team that’s very capable of winning a lot of games and being really tough to beat,” the 2019 Coach of the Year candidate was quoted as saying in a report by Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press.

“That’s the one thing — I think we’ve got a smart team. They’re able to adjust quickly on the fly in games. They’re able to adjust from game to game. I think we’re tough to beat.”

Although Leonard certainly left a huge void, the Raptors managed to retain last season’s core intact by keeping Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet, while offering extensions to Kyle Lowry and breakout star Pascal Siakam.

The team also has a surplus of young and capable wing players that would fill Leonard’s shoes, as OG Anunoby, Norm Powell and Patrick McCaw are expected to soak up his minutes. Toronto added a bunch of newcomers as well that will likely produce right away in Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and rookie Matt Thomas.

Only time will tell if Nurse can walk the talk, but there’s a reason to stay optimistic. They are the reigning champions, after all.