There's no denying that Nick Nurse will be inheriting a lot of issues now that he's taking over as the new head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. At the same time, though, he will have the privilege of coaching a generational talent in Joel Embiid — an undeniably significant factor in Nurse's decision to sign with the Sixers.
In his unveiling on Thursday, Nurse had nothing but high praise for Embiid. Nurse spoke about his experience in going against the Sixers' cornerstone superstar during the former's time with the Toronto Raptors:
“I think that it's been an interesting experience coaching against Joel,” Nurse said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “We threw everything almost I think you could possibly throw at a guy, because it was that hard for us to try to stop him. So we threw a lot at him. So at least I think that we can offensively say this is what we did and here's how we can beat it. And we've almost covered [almost everything].”
Inevitably, Nurse also addressed the previous exchanges he's had with Embiid both on and off the court. This also included Embiid blatantly calling out Nurse for complaining to the referees earlier this season. At that point in time, the Sixers big man said that Nurse should “stop b**ching about calls.” Apparently, that's all water under the bridge now for Nick Nurse:
“The rest of that, it's just, well, it's a little bit entertaining for me,” Nurse said. “I understand there was some exchanges and things … when you're out there and you're in the heat of really competing, I didn't even really remember them. But I accidentally had my TV on yesterday and I saw a couple of them, and they were pretty good.
“It kind of grew to such a — for me anyway — respect level of him. We'd throw one thing and literally even in that playoff series a game later, he would adjust to it and we couldn't do it.”
In spite of Embiid's rather unsavory jab, he did say that he made his comments “respectfully.” There's clearly a lot of mutual admiration from both individuals — a factor that Sixers fans are hoping will translate to a great coach-star relationship in the immediate future.